A Guide to Ahri, the Nine-Tailed Fox
Sat 10th Oct 2020 - 11:15pm
One of League of Legends’ most popular and most recognizable champions, especially overseas, Ahri is just a fun mid lane mage to play. She loves to dive into fights to get a target, CC them and dash out just as fast as she goes in. She does have her flaws, but she makes up for those in her kite potential and her ability to 1v1 squishy targets like fellow mid laners and ADCs. Let’s take a dive into what makes Ahri a fun mage to play!
Passive – Essence Theft
Just recently in fact, in patch 10.18, Ahri’s passive has been changed in a big way. In the past, she gains bonus movement speed when two of her abilities strike an enemy champion for three seconds. Now, that passive has shifted, with no movement speed added, but instead, gaining charges of Essence Theft each time an ability hits an enemy champion. She can get up to nine charges and when she hits that point, her next ability that hits an enemy champion heals her based on her current level plus 27% of the AP she has. This used to not be the case, as only her Q gave her healing, but with these changes, it gives Ahri players more reward for when they poke and prod at enemy champions and gives her huge healing when they do. This healing is crucial for Ahri, as it can give her good sustain when wave clearing during the lane phase or more survivability in the heat of a teamfight.
Q - Orb of Deception
Much like her passive, this ability has seen some changes to in patch 10.18. In the past, this ability was key to healing for Ahri, as it worked in tandem with her passive, being her only way to heal. Its main functions still remain however. Ahri tosses her orb in a targeted direction dealing magic damage to everything it hits. It then returns to Ahri, instead now dealing true damage instead of magic damage. It is VERY important for any Ahri player to master this ability, as it is her main ability for wave clearing and dealing damage. After getting items, this ability becomes a one-shot for minion waves come mid to late game.
W - Fox Fire
This ability is another tool for Ahri to use to dish out damage. She summons three flames that circle her and then, once it’s in range of the closest enemies or in range of a CC'd champion, they will dive onto that target. One good thing about this ability is the damage it deals to low health minions. 200% to minions below 20% to be exact and the fires will take priority of those minions that are super low if your Charm is not in play. Use this ability to clear any low health minions and deal damage against enemy champions that are hit with your Charm, as doing that will make the absolute most out of the ability.
E – Charm
This ability makes or breaks an Ahri pick. Ahri blows a kiss in a targeted direction, much like her Orb and the first target hit is then charmed and roams harmlessly towards Ahri, while also applying a slow when they are charmed. Landing a charm also buffs her other abilities, as it will give them a 20% damage increase to charmed enemy champions. This spell has a long cooldown and takes a chunk of mana, so use this ability when you feel fully confident in landing it, as once you use it and it misses your target, your lane opponent can easily punish, as her Charm is her only form of crowd control.
R – Spirit Rush
Ahri’s ultimate ability allows her to fully unlock her kit. She dashes in a targeted direction and fires an energy bolt with each dash. The ability can be used up to three times and has a one second cooldown between dashes. This ability has a multitude of purposes, from getting close to your enemy and land your abilities, to getting away from a bad situation, like getting ganked or getting chunked down in a bad teamfight. It is important to utilize this ultimate with your other abilities. For example, you can use the ability to make sure your Q hits the intended target. Furthermore, one thing to remember is to not let your ult charges go to waste. You have three charges and even if you kill your intended target with one, you can use the other charges to help clear wave, get away from a tower, etc.
Pros and Cons
With Ahri, she has her fair share of pros and cons, but lets first talk about her pros. First off, her Charm gives her opportunities to single out key targets not just for her, but for her team to dive onto. If you are playing an ADC or any squishy champion for that matter, odds are you won’t make it out alive if you are hit by her Charm. Her wave clear is another strength of hers. Although it is not that strong in the early game, once she gets items, she can wipe out minion waves as fast as they come into the lane. She also has great mobility with her ultimate. Being able to dash any direction and to go over terrain can act as not only a great initiator for teamfights, but also for escape routes when things start to go south in a fight. It also acts as a great way to surprise top or bot lane in roams, as she has a great roaming potential with her ultimate, being able to dive into a fight before the enemy can have time to react.
Now to Ahri’s cons. First off, her E and R. As previously stated, if her Charm does not hit the enemy champion, it opens up a window for that champion to dive in without much harm done to them. If she does not have her ultimate, she is basically a sitting duck, unless she can land her Charm to escape the fight. If not, then you better hope you have your Flash at the ready. Her kit relies heavily on having a good aim with her abilities, so if you are not good with skill shots, Ahri might not be the champion for you. Ahri also has a good number of counters, particularly with other mages. They can keep a safe distance behind their minions to prevent Ahri from landing any charms, which makes trading in lane more difficult without the bonus magic damage the charm provides.
Best and Worst Matchups
Ahri is at her peak when facing off against melee champions. With these champions, they make it really easy for Ahri to land her skillshots on them, like her Charm and Orb. The Charm especially stops them from any all-in attempts and can act as a deterrent from them going for an all-in on you. Not only assassins, but champions that rely on all-ins to work, like Yone and LeBlanc for example, would have a rough time against Ahri because of her ability to trade hard if they get too close to her.
When Ahri is against other mages, that’s where her weaknesses can shine out. If the enemy laner choses to keep behind minions instead of going out into the open to wave clear, it’s impossible to land a Charm onto them, as that is Ahri’s only initiator until level six, leaving her extremely vulnerable pre-6. To name a few champions to look out for, Annie for her burst damage and passive stun, Cassiopeia with her poke and Miasma not allowing Ahri to use her ultimate to escape or all-in and Kassadin, and while he is an assassin, he’s an assassin made to eliminate mages, with his passive magic resist and magic shield with Q, plus his ultimate basically giving him a free dodge of Ahri’s charm.
Laning Phase and Combos
Ahri’s early game lane phase is where she is at her most vulnerable, but make no mistake, she is no pushover. Her laning phase is relatively safe if you play it right. First off, make sure you keep tabs on your mana, especially when you want to use your charm, as it takes a big chunk of mana off to use that ability. Save your abilities for when you need to, as it is best not to shove the wave until you hit your level six spike. At that point, you should be free to hard push as your like so you can roam into other lanes and help out.
For her combos, let’s start off with the easiest one. Land a charm, then follow up with your Q and W for a really good trade. This combo is Ahri’s bread and butter and must be mastered fast. If you want to all-in with your ultimate ability, use that to get in close to land the charm, use your W, use the second ult charge, toss your orb against them and then use your last ult charge to make sure that when the orb returns, it deals true damage against your lane opponent. This combo allows you to kite around your lane opponent, making it difficult for them to attack you since you are constantly on the move. Most of the combos you make rely heavily on landing your charm. Without landing that charm, chaining together a good damage combo will be very difficult.
Electrocute with Sorcery
This rune setup is one of Ahri’s most popular and best rune setup for her combo style of gameplay, with Electrocute giving her a bonus burst of damage when chaining abilities against her lane opponent. For the rest of the domination rune tree, go Sudden Impact, as you will gain more magic damage each time you use your ultimate to get the most out of that, Eyeball Collection so you can stack ap the more takedowns you get and Ultimate Hunter, so you can get your ultimate much more often to utilize Sudden Impact more often. For the secondary rune tree, go Sorcery with Manaflow Band for the max mana increase, as Ahri will be using up quite a bit of mana more often than not and finally, Transcendence for the free 10% cooldown reduction.
Glacial Augment with Domination
This rune setup is to make things much easier for those that have a problem landing skillshots with Ahri. Using this rune with the Hextech GLP and Twin Shadows will help make Ahri’s life of landing skillshots so much easier with the freeze slow. For the other parts of the rune tree, build Magical Footwear for the free boots and Minion Dematerializer for the free farm against minions. Use this item against cannon minions, as you will get much more worth from using it on them then on caster or melee minions. Finally, use cosmic insight for the free 5% cooldowns on your abilities, summoner spells and item cool down reduction, which is crucial to this build. In the secondary rune tree, going domination is the best choice, as the Cheap Shot portion of the rune gives you bonus damage against crowd controlled enemies, giving you bonus true damage and finally, Ultimate Hunter for the reduced cooldown on your ultimate. The more you have it, the better.
For the beginning of the game, go Doran’s Ring, or if you’re feeling lucky with your matchup, go Dark Seal. It is best not to use Corrupting Potion, as it would take away the additional AP that Ahri needs to make her early game much easier.
Now, if you are building with the Glacial Augment rune setup, Hextech GLP-800 and Twin Shadows is a must build for you. These two items are integral to making the most out of the Glacial Augment rune. You could also add in a Rylai’s Crystal Scepter for even further slows if you so choose, but that item is entirely up to you.
If you are building with the Electrocute rune, it is best to get Luden’s Echo first for the bonus mana and item active. After building that, a Zhonya’s Hourglass wouldn’t be a bad buy, as it can very well save your life if the enemy team decides to all-in on you and you have no charm or ultimate to use to escape the chaos.
After building the two main items, the rest is up to you. If you are against an AP, also buying a Banshee’s Veil might be a good idea, as the spell shield can come in handy when you are going for an all-in dive. Rabadon’s would also be a good buy, as that item will give Ahri a big boost in AP, keeping her a relevant champion and threat throughout the late game, where she tends to fall off. Void Staff for the magic penetration wouldn’t hurt too.
For the boots, go for Sorcerer’s Shoes, as that will give Ahri more magic penetration. You can buy other, more defensive boots like Mercury Treads or even an Ionian Boots of Lucidity for the summoner spell cooldown, but most of the time, Sorcerer’s Shoes is the way to go.
Ahri is a champion that can be fun to play, if you are in the right matchup. She is a champion that should be picked to a counter, not blind picked, as you leave up the chance to be hard countered. Her abilities are strong and can really leave an impact on the game but can also backfire if they are not aimed correctly. While she has big weaknesses, her strengths cannot be left to the backburner. Ahri is a good champ to dive in, create fights, can constantly kite to keep her enemies on her toes and can fit well with virtually any team comp. With time and dedication, you can become a great Ahri player! Good luck and see you on the rift summoners!