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Back in the end of September, we announced The Nine Tails Fox much to the excitement of our community. Well the time has finally come and after much anticipation, we wanted to reveal the gameplay style for Ahri, the Nine-Tailed Fox.
Ahri's gameplay style revolves around mobility and managing position to aim her spells. When played properly, Ahri darts around teamfights, picking off wounded stragglers and harrying soft enemies.
This is largely accomplished through her ultimate, which allows her to dash multiple times before going on cooldown. Ahri can either use all three quickly to chase, burst, or escape, or she can spread out their uses to keep enemies guessing and juke around the battlefield. Combining this with her high magic damage and her Charm ability to lock enemies down, she can strike from unexpected angles or bait enemies into over-committing to disadvantageous situations.
Ahri's major gameplay decisions are based on her assessment of risk/reward. Her burst is high, but must be in short range to maximize it. This creates a dynamic that requires her to endanger herself to reach full potential. Play it safe and have more light damage, or commit and go for the kill? Use your dash for damage, or save it for escape? The choices are constant with these opposed strengths and weaknesses.
Her kit is really designed to appeal towards opportunistic players who prefer characters with a lot of action, and especially players that like to lull enemies into overconfidence, only to capitalize and punish them. Ahri's dangerous, seductive nature is something we're happy to deliver for players who like to toy with their enemies before destroying them.
- Champion Spotlight
- Recommended Items
- Playing As Ahri
- Use Charm to set up your combos, it will make landing Orb of Deception and Fox-Fire dramatically easier.
- Initiate team fights using Charm, and chase down stragglers with Spirit Rush.
- Spirit Rush enables Ahri's abilities, it opens up paths for Charm, helps double hitting with Orb of Deception, and closes to make use of Fox-Fire.
- Playing Against Ahri
- Ahri's survivability is significantly reduced when her Ultimate, Spirit Rush, is down.
- Stay behind minions to make Charm difficult to land, this will reduce Ahri's damage potential significantly.
- Ability Usage
- Ahri is a mid-range, extremely mobile, low skill requirement mage/assasin with huge damage. Many mages are easily slain if caught by fighters at too short a distance, but Charm and Spirit Rush make Ahri easily able to escape danger.
- Ahri's burst is on the low side for assassin champions, so it is necessary to poke enemies down to a lower kill threshold before going for an all in than it is with other assassins early on into the game.
- Orb of Deception is almost always a first pick on Ahri, as its low cooldown makes it almost an extension of her basic attack.
- Orb of Deception is a boomerang skillshot, meaning you can move after casting and it will change the path of the orb as it comes back. Spirit Rush can be used to help you to lead the orb's return in hectic teamfights; but don't waste the ultimate simply for this purpose unless it's absolutely necessary, as the damage from any single strike of the orb is low.
- Do not be deceived by the low damage quoted for Orb of Deception - over repeated applications, the orb deals surprisingly high damage because half of it deals true damage. It is best used when your opponent is walking directly towards or away from you, is standing still, or is at the maximum range of the spell.
- Orb of Deception grants exceptional waveclear - the ability to weaken or destroy large waves of minions in a single spell - if you learn to hit almost every minion in a wave with it, which can be done fairly easily with practice. Ahri can beat many champions that she can't in spell matchups alone by pushing large groups of minions at them. At it's best, try to hit as many minions as possible, but hit the enemy champion aswell. Thatfor just wait untill the enemy laner stands right behind the running wave.
- Don't neglect Fox-Fire! At higher levels it becomes more damaging, and it is a crucial part of her single-target kill combo.
- You can aim Ahri's Orb of Deception and Charm and activate Fox-Fire while in the air after using Spirit Rush; she will cast the spell after the dash.
- Use Spirit Rush and then activate Fox-Fire immediately to ensure that all three bolts hit the intended target, or position yourself further away with the rush if targeting multiple champions.
- Consider leveling Orb of Deception and Fox-Fire over Charm against single targets; this will make you a primary source of damage mid-game, although the lower CC time is a noticeable loss. (Versus teamfights this is less viable; you need Charm to take the ADC or carry out of the fight for a few seconds.)
- Charm, of all Ahri's abilities, is the most versatile, useful, and able to turn the tide of the game in a single play. It is one of the most devastating stuns in the game to be hit with, for it forces a champion not just to be stunned but to walk forward out of safety or cover as well. However, it is a difficult skillshot to connect with.
- Initiating with Charm will allow you to maximize your damage, as the target will be unable to dodge Orb of Deception and they will take the brunt of Fox-Fire's damage.
- In teamfights, use Charm to divide up the enemy team. Outflank the enemy and pull a member of the team to the side, or use it to pull a powerful enemy champion off a squishy teammate.
- Charm can slow enemy champions who are chasing you. Ahri is notorious as a champion who punishes chasing opponents, hitting them with Orb of Deception- Fox-Fire repeatedly while they are charmed, charming them into turrets and team ganks, etcetera. It's also just as useful for enemies who are trying to flee!
- Charm is also exceptional at checking bushes for ganks. Cast Charm at a brush and listen for the hit / watch if it stops early. It is better to waste mana and no-one be there rather than to save the cost of the spell and be ganked.
- If you hit an enemy with Charm and then leave its area of vision, for example, by walking into a brush, it will no longer follow you until you get into its sight again. The slow persists in any case.
- Due to the relatively slow projectile speed of Charm it can easily be dodged if the enemy champion is expecting it. To regain the element of surprise, get into range but lead with a Spirit Rush or Flash and immediately follow with your combo. This both catches them off-guard, and reduces the distance your skillshots have to travel, thus reducing the time they have to react.
- Using Spirit Rush all at once may not be the smartest choice in a fight. Try saving them using them to position yourself for your skillshots, chase down stragglers, run away, or to turn the fight with another quick burst to the right champions.
- In the early game, Spirit Rush is great for finishing off running champions as you can usually turret dive safely since the skill can be used three times before going on cooldown. However, it is best to save the last Spirit Rush for escaping from turret range if it is used for turret diving. If you've only just gotten your ultimate, this is essential, as turrets will generally kill you in two to three shots at level 6.
- Many players see only the offensive potential of Spirit Rush, but it is even better as an escape tool. Don't be afraid to use it to save yourself.
- In particular, learn how to Spirit Rush through thin walls - ranked play requires the ability to escape through several walls, or chase a badly wounded enemy through several walls, and never miss a gap closer.
- Though Spirit Rush itself is only one spell, each dash will reset the cap of Essence Theft, making it possible to gain up to 9 charges with it when used in teamfights or against minions.
- Spirit Rush's cooldown is fairly reasonable, and will be available in most team fights. When in doubt, use it, and if you've made a mistake, use the other dashes to retreat backwards.
- Ahri's Essence Theft - her passive - heals her on the next spell cast with Spell vamp after nine targets are hit by other spells. It grants Ahri high sustain relative to other mages, but is infrequent. Make sure you know when Essence Theft is up so you can use it on a full minion wave or bunched-up group of champions to heal yourself.
- The healing potential granted by Essence Theft is at its best when used with Orb of Deception, as it can hit the largest number of targets. Use Fox-Fire and Charm to reach the nine-target count against minions if you have to when low on health to maximize the chance of using Orb of Deception and Essence Theft against a minion wave successfully. ( Fox-Fire will not proc Essence Theft if it goes over the nine-target count, so you can use it to gain up to three charges with no risk.)
- Ahri can use Essence Theft to check bushes and fog of war, when she casts a spell, if it hits, it will grant a stack on her passive or heal her if it is fully stacked, keep this in mind when playing.
- Orb of Deception, Charm and especially Fox-Fire are really good at kiting enemies and whittling away at their health; this is the basic nature of play with Ahri.
- Ahri's Orb of Deception has been given a strong movement speed boost in Patch 5.2.
- Direct Orb of Deception in the opposite direction of your running direction to keep the movement speed boost as long as possible. This can be useful in many factors.
- Item Usage
- Ahri's damage requires her to get close to her opponents, thankfully she can build items that give her good damage while reinforcing her kit's theme of avoiding damage instead of tanking it.
- Ahri's best defense is a good offense. You must have ability power to be dangerous. Strong ability power items like , , and form the core of her damage capabiities.
- If you need survivability, movement speed and cooldown reduction are key to improve your ability to kite and avoid damage. Thus the core items and along with tier 2 boots offer safety along with their strong offensive power. The armor and stasis active from is also particularly useful if you need to handle physical damage and to avoid burst/CC spells. gives good MR in dangerous matchups where you cannot dodge your opponent's damage and provides some health and a powerful slow that will allow you to kite your enemies with ease.
- While she is not extremely mana hungry, Ahri uses a fair amount of mana in lane and in prolonged fights, you will usually want to get a mana regeneration item or at least 2 to avoid running out of mana early.
- Finally, cooldown reduction is crucial by late game to keep her dangerous in teamfights.
- The standard starting item on Ahri, as with many other mages is health and ability power, and mana sustain with the flat mana regeneration and passive.
along with 2 . This start provides good combat stats with
- and are poor choices as starting items. gives weak stats and the gold generation will be very weak considering that you will be last hitting minions, and only gives mediocre mana sustain with no combat stats at all. It does allow you to start with a lot of potions and/or s, but should cover your warding needs until your first trip back to the shop.
- Ahri will usually build a as her first big item. It provides 80 AP, 20% cooldown reduction and decent mana regeneration for only 2300 gold, with a forgiving build path as all parts cost 445G or less. is not preferred because it is more expensive, gives less AP and Ahri does not really need the extra mana regeneration and MR. gives a bigger and faster power spike. Only build when you really need the extra MR.
- Early cooldown reduction. can be purchased in matchups where you will need to dodge lots of skillshots before level 6. Later they will usually be upgraded to for damage, or occasionally to if you need the
- Ahri's second core item that she will build in the majority of games. The item gives a lot of AP, mobility and its passive is a big boost to her burst and poke. It also greatly increases her ability to kill a minion wave with a single spell. Combined with the movement speed this makes your strong roaming potential even better. If you are able to obtain a strong lead early in the game (enough to buy on your first back), or if you know that you will get blue buff from your jungler, you can rush as your first item for a very strong offensive powerspike. is
- As an ability power carry, Ahri will need to build and at some point for her damage to scale into the late game. There is no set order for these, and you should build them according to how much gold you have available, the amount of MR on the enemy team and whether or not you need a situational item.
- Good final item choices on Ahri are and . Both give 100 AP for damage. gives you armor for some survivability against physical damage but more importantly gives you the powerful stasis active which can allow you to avoid burst damage or crowd control effects that would result in your death. gives you some health for defense but also a strong slow on your spells, making you already exceptional ability to kite and chase even stronger. Note that Fox-Fire counts as a single target spell and therefore applies the full slow duration.
- In difficult matchups where your opponent is a big magic damage threat or if there are several AP threats on the enemy team,
should be considered as a first item (or later in the game should you not feel the need in laning phase). It provides a decent amount of MR to increase your survivability but also a nice amount of damage with 70 AP and an MR reducing aura.
- Similarly, against AD opponents like Zed, Yasuo or Talon, an early will give you helpful armor to mitigate their damage, and can be upgraded to right away or later in the game. Against Zed especially, rushing is strongly recommended as the active counters his ultimate when timed right.
- While true defensive items are usually not a good choice for mages, is a possible last item if you need to make absolutely sure that magic damage burst does not kill you in teamfights. Think hard about it though, as you will sacrifice a lot of damage going this route. In the same vein can be considered as a replacement for .
- Ahri. Spirit Rush's bolts have the same range as her auto-attacks, allowing her to get up to three procs per ultimate. Her generally spammy nature in the late game with CDR makes a very powerful damage item, but lacking in utility and somewhat unwieldy to use. is a situationally strong late game pickup for
- While it is rather unusual (it might be a bad idea for ranked games), she can be played as a marksman. Her range is average, her attack speed has a good base, making items effective. The mobility with Spirit Rush makes it harder to single her out, especially if she has a . The crowd control of Charm has a duration long enough for a squishy target to die from crits without reply, and she has strong synergy with due to her multi-cast Spirit Rush's Her burst falls of in mid-late game though, as all her abilities scale from AP only.
- Half of Ahri's spells can be avoided with proper positioning or juking. Her Orb of Deception and Charm spells are line skill shots that move fairly slowly so you can step to the side to avoid them. Her Fox-Fire and Spirit Rush spells target the 3 closest enemy targets, but do prioritize champions in a smaller range, staying behind minions, tanks, or your team can help you avoid some or all of the damage or make Ahri risk putting herself in a bad position if she wants to damage you with them.
- Don't chase Ahri unless you are a very tanky champion or know her spells are on cooldown. All three of Fox-Fire's attacks will hit you if you're the closest thing to her, and if you're low on health, she'll Charm and kill you. Wait until Ahri is low on mana or vulnerable, or until you know Charm and Spirit Rush are on cooldown, before chasing.
- Always remember to move away from her Orb of Deception path after she uses the spell as the orb will return to her and deals true damage to you.
- Buying health can help you to survive against her true damage.
- Ahri has a hard time dealing full damage through crowds of minions, as Charm, Fox-Fire, and Spirit Rush are all fully or partially blocked by minions.
- Take cover behind minions when engaging her in order to avoid her Charm, which is not a passthrough.
- When Ahri uses her Fox-Fire, take cover behind minions so the spell will only hit you once.
- Her Orb of Deception remains dangerous in any case and is a passthrough; expect her to use it when you're inside minion waves, and the other two spells when you are outside of them, and dodge back and forth in and out for best effect.
- If fed, Ahri has one of the strongest snowballing power levels in the game - and Charm remains dangerous until the end of the game. Avoid giving her kills to snowball; if not fed, she is intensely vulnerable by midgame and may even be a snack in late game.
- Ahri's mobility is one of her greatest strengths, so a combination of crowd control like stuns and slows will lower her utility.
- When laning with a partner against Ahri, be sure to remember not to activate any movement speed boost abilities or item effects if a partner is affected by Charm.
- A strong counter-pick to an Ahri is someone with CC or a snare, such as Ryze, as his Rune Prison is able to lock her out of Spirit Rush without much difficulty, or Veigar's Event Horizon can stop Ahri if she turns up the attack, and his Primordial Burst can instantly decimate her if she has high AP.
- Heavy tanks also counter Ahri since the post-Season 3 nerfs.
- Ahri's Orb of Deception now has a huge movement speed burst when the orb is in flight.