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Ahri has been one of my mains for a while, and I've finally reached a conundrum. I have no idea how I should be playing her.
I usually take her mid, and start out playing her as a pusher, running through minions with Orb of Deception and poking my lane opponent with everything I can. My only real advantage early is a start-stop stream of minor burst damage, between Charm and Fox-Fire, and maybe catching them with an Orb. She's not effective enough to get kills like this. I really only ever win my lane with this constant harassment, using these cheap tactics to keep my opponent out of lane. One or both mid turrets usually get destroyed with me still 0/0/0.
On the semi-rare chances I do get an opportunity to gank someone, I find that I can't quite be of any assistance if I miss with Charm. Yeah, I can chase and maybe dive with Spirit Rush, but that's only after I've done what little damage I can.
My main issue with Ahri is her scalings. Her abilities have rather low base damage, and she never gets more than 40% AP at a time. Yes, Orb hits everything in its path for 33% both ways. Yes, each Fox-Fire hits for 40% (half that if another one already hit the same target). Yes, Spirit Rush is a total of 105% if you hit the same target thrice, and 35% per blast regardless. But honestly, I never notice this damage adding up as it should. I often find myself using all four abilities just to take out a little over half of someone's health.
This brings me to my real issue. I have no idea how to build her. Going for pure damage honestly feels like a waste, because though the effect is there in the background, the raw numbers are just intimidating - if you build pure AP, and look at the tooltips, the damage really does seem astoundingly low.
I also find that she brings very little utility, and that she's an extremely selfish champion. She can isolate a single target with Charm, and that's about it. Her other abilities are all only damage, and her passive gives herself spell vamp every so often. Buildingand is generally how I take her, just to give her some real presence in teamfights.
She's not bursty enough to be a burst mage. She's not supporty enough to be a support. She has no DoT without items. To me, she has no clear role.
So with that, I ask all of you: What am I doing wrong? What should I build on her? How can I make myself feel more effective despite knowing that rarely all of my AP is used?