Cryopheonix, or miss Anivia if ya nasty - by Morello

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While there are a couple of fine Anivia guides out there, I wanted to present one with some of the new changes and give an additional take on LoL's slowest of all birds.
    
Overview:
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Anivia is an interesting combination between providing good burst damage and great movement control. Her passive allows for some uniquely aggressive play in the early laning phase, as well as punishment for focus firing her in teamfights. 

All but 1 of her skills are either placed AOE templates or skillshots. This, combined with more difficult mana mangement and a slow base movement speed, makes her more difficult for newer players to learn than some other heroes.

Should I use Anivia?

LoL has exactly 1.6 metric buttloads of characters to choose from. While she's not one of the few in "god-tier" (Corki, Alistar, TF) Anivia is viable at all ELO levels. In higher brackets, the time when she's a boon to team depends on the other members a lot (more on this in a later section). 
You should 
use Anivia if you like the following:

* Controlling enemy movement in a variety of ways.
* You enjoy burst damage.
* Managing your mana effectively is a rewarding or easy skill for you.
* Aiming and timing your primary abilties.
* You enjoy baiting enemies into ganks.
* Defending assaulted towers.
* Having great range on your attacks and abilities.

You should 
avoid Anivia if:

* You want a mobile, quick character
* You enjoy solo operation/carrying (depending on your ELO).
* You want skills that use auto-targeting.
* You want to be the primary tank

Skills:

Flash Frost (Q):

A versatile, powerful skill that will be your main form of early harassment. This is a "skill shot," meaning that you only fire it in a direction, not directly into a target. Anything passed over (creeps or champions) will take the listed damage and be snared for a short duration. 

Flash Frost is unique because the player can activate the spell again while it's in-flight to detonate it. Anything close to the detonation will be stunned for .75 seconds and take the listed damage again. 

When fighting enemy champions, the best use is to let it fly over them before detonating when possible, causing both portions of the skill to connect for 2x damage, snare, and a stun. This actually does quite a bit of damage, and creates opportunities for you to use Frost Bite.
The range on Flash Frost is simply amazing, but its travel time is slow. Most aware enemies in a lane will dodge this at maximum range, so being a bit closer (and using some prediction) will help you score hits much more frequently. If your mana is holding up, you can use this to get some early creep kills while harassing as well.

Crystallize: 

Affectionately referred to as "wall," this is a unique ability that creates a solid wall of ice that is impassible to players on either team. This skill can do a lot - help you/your friends escape a gank, ensure a damaged enemy doesn't escape, mess with enemy auto-pathing, and most importantly, split a team during a teamfight.

The wall is always created in a relative 90-degree angle to your facing. This is a huge part of creating well-placed walls that can block entire routes in a jungle, or catch the damaged enemy 
just right inside a Glacial Storm. As you practice, work on changing your facing on-the-fly when you need to create a more precise wall. 

Flash and Ghost can both bypass walls created by Crystallize. Be aware of enemies bringing these skills.

Frostbite: 

This skill is simple; shoot an enemy target with this to do damage. If that target is frozen, this will do double that damage.

When trying to gank, teamfight or score champion kills in a lane, this will be the skill that delivers the most raw damage, thanks to its easy-to-meet condition and reasonable AP scale (.5). It has a short cooldown and affordable mana cost, meaning that you should be using this every time you have a frozen target within range.

The downside to this skills is that its range is more what you'd expect on Ryze - criminally short. To use it effectively, you need to anticipate a little when you can freeze them, and move in as soon as possible. For example, if you were to hit an enemy laner with a Flash Frost, and then wanted to follow up with a Frostbite, you should move as soon as you fire the Flash Frost, so that when it hits, you'll be in range to do follow-up damage with Frostbite.

Glacial Storm: 

Slowbird's ultimate ability is a toggle skill that creates a pulsing area-effect spell at a location. Once placed, the skill will persist until;

* You cast it again to turn it off (and begin the spell's cooldown)
* You get out of its channel range.
* You become silenced/stunned/disabled
* You die
* You run out of mana

Glacial storm costs mana for every second it's active. Using this skill effectively requires a keen eye on mana management, or you'll find yourself running dry before the fight is even over. 

This spell also 
freezes enemies inside it, slowing their movement for a couple seconds and allowing you to get the 2x damage on Frostbite. Early in the game, when your mana and regen are on the low side, pulsing this on an enemy for 1 or 2 "tics" just to allow a good frostbite hit is a great way to get some cheap damage. It's also very useful in slowing down opponents to make landing Flash Frost's stun much easier. 

"But wait," you say, "this is her ultimate! This doesn't compare to Tibbers, Crowstorm, Absolute Zero, or other like skills!" On a single use, absolutely, but a lot of the power behind this move is it's beautifully short cooldown, 10 seconds. This skill's real limitation is mana, but otherwise never "save it" for a better opportunity like you would more bursty ultimates. Sprinkle liberally on enemies to harass them and keep them from escaping/closing. 


It should be mentioned that you can pretty much let this roll a long, long time if you get Golem buff. When you have golem, this should be cast on CD and let run until there's nothing inside it anymore. This combination makes Anivia one of the best farmers and tower defenders. Minions just melt and champions have a hard time standing at a Glacial Storm-defended tower. This means you should go for golem whenever you can after level 6. You should be able to solo it reasonably well at about level 8.

Egg: Anivia's passive. When she dies, Cryopheonix transforms into an immoble egg with her current max HP. If she's still alive after 6 seconds, she will return with the egg's current HP and not suffer a death. Once this occurs, she can not become an egg again for 5 minutes.

This ability has a lot of great uses. It adds to your ability to defend a tower by punishing tower divers excessively, it allows you to bait extremely well and set up kills for the rest of your team, and it allows you to harass much more aggressively in the early laning phase. 

If you made sure to get a decent amount of health, in the later game teamfights, this essentially will give you 2x HP (for about 4000-5000) and really punish the enemy for focusing you. This allows you to stay in the fight and contribute more damage, slows, stuns and ice walls to disrupt the enemy team a lot. Ignoring health on Anivia makes this passive worse and worse, in turn making you easy to kill and counter.

Skill Build:

This is a skill build I've preferred in arranged team or solo queue, whether in mid or a side lane. This is designed to get you harassing/punishing aggressive opponents early, and move into team support as the game gets longer;

1) Flash Frost
2) Frostbite
3) Flash Frost
4) Frostbite
5) Crystallize
6) Glacial Storm
7) Flash Frost
8) Frostbite
9) Frostbite*
10) Flash Frost*
11) Glacial Storm
12) Frostbite
13) Flash Frost
14) Crystallize
15) Crystallize
16) Glacial Storm
17) Crystallize
18) Crystallize

Levels marked with an * can be replaced with an additional level of Crystallize, situationally. If you do a lot of tug-of-war fights or skirmish with your team in the jungle a lot this early, grab extra ranks of this to ensure you can help your team escape or score kills on runners. At any rate, bypassing this skill entirely is a bad plan - it's a defining ability Anivia brings to the team.

Item Build: 

While I'll present a standard item build, remember that LoL's item system is your character's flexibility. Choosing the right items to deal with what your opponents have chosen is a key consideration when shopping. A giant mistake is to just build items without regard to what the enemy is doing. That being said, this is a good general template;
Game Start) Mana Sapphire, 1 Health Potion, 1 Mana Potion. (You can do two HP potions if you prefer). This ensures a good starting mana pool and builds into a number of strong late-game items.

1) Catalyst the Protector. This will keep you in a lane indefinitely if you desire. The on-level bonus keeps you healthy and able to harass/gank, while the HP and mana bonuses are both needed on slowbird. It also builds into one of two items you'll want every single game.

2) Boots -> Sorc Shoes. Boots. You're slow. Get them! Mercury Treads are a good alternative here if your team is damage-heavy or if your opponents are disable-heavy.

3) Blasting Rod -> Rod of Ages. Health, Mana and Ability Power. All great statistics for Anivia. Avoid the temptation to pass this up for more aggressive items that offer no additional survivability. With egg, you should be punishing the enemy team for focusing you first, and the extra health goes a long way to do that. This is also a natural progression from a Catalyst.

4) Void Staff. I consider this a must for any damage-dealing caster. This will help make your Glacial Storm into real threats the enemy can't afford to hang out in, and adds considerable burst damage to your Frostbite and Flash Frost. Also provides some more juicy, juicy mana.

5) *. This is where you look at what's happening in the game and become flexible. Is the enemy really squishy, full of Yi/Ashe/Twitch/Ryze/etc? Grab some more AP/Magic pen. A lot of HP-stacking characters? Go for a Deathfire Grasp. Is the enemy team straight out-damaging your team? Grab a Guardian Angel for the defense and frustration. Enemy burst-casters and mages tearing you apart? Get a Banshee's. When all things are equal, I believe GA is the best item here.

6) GA if you didn't get it at 5). If you already have a GA and are rolling in cash (which, with Glacial Storm, is very possible here) go nuts and get a Zhonya's Ring. 

Personally, I avoid Archangel's on Anivia because I believe it requires a much larger mana pool to be cost-effective. You can do this instead of Rod of Ages for a more glass-cannon variant, but I've personally found that too vulnerable in teamfights.

Summoner Spells:

With her slowbirdness, 
Flash is great for ensuring the kill with a wall or escaping in a gank situation. But this is a general rule that Flash is just very good.

Your second spell is more flexible. In an organized team, I take 
Clairvoyance to free up the juicier spells for other team members. Other options:

Teleport: This "meh" spell is actually much better on Anivia. There's a fun trick you can do if you end up playing birdbait alot;

1) Set up the bait
2) Cast teleport to a friendly tower -right- before you get egged.
3) ??? (Teleport to safety as an egg)
4) Profit! (Watch your team gank the enemy who has blown their spells on you)

Teleport cannot be cast while you are an egg, but will continue to activate if you started it before you became an egg. This takes some practice, but is extremely useful.

Exhaust: Always a great choice for offense and defense, but its limited range makes it less useful here. Anivia will either have a better snare option available or will be out of range of this anyway. 

Ignite: While fun for some extra early-game punch and punishing tower divers, I find the range of this to also be a bit low if I can't stop them from getting away with my normal spells. It can be a good option if your team is lower on damage.

Clarity: Its bad scaling makes it undesirable late game. I think you're better off taking a mana potion and having a better late-game spell.

Heal: Since this is castable in Egg, it does have some use on the bait. Not a bad skill here, but not great either.

Rally: Like Clairvoyance, you can be used to mule this for your team to let your carries and tanks take more combat-oriented spells. Always a good spell to have in a teamfight.

Runes:

Typical caster stuff, based on what runes actually give you per slot;

Red: Magic Pen

Yellow: MP5/level. This keeps you up on regen in the laning phase. 

Blue: CD Reduction. 

Quints: Choice of Magic Pen or CD Reduction. 

Masteries:

As usual with casters, a 9/0/21 breakdown is desired. This is especially true for making Flash more readily-available.

Standard fare, really.

Strategy:

Any lane is alright for Anivia as a player, but it's better to only take mid if no one else either wants it or has a character that can manage it. Anivia can perform well in the middle lane, but doesn't benefit from being there as much as a good carry does. Typically, you should go together with a melee laner that needs ranged support.

In the laning phase, harass with Flash Frost and use your great range to deny shorter-ranged characters kills. With Egg and plenty of control, you should be able to get a little more aggressive with this while you and your lane partner farm up the gold. Be careful of lanes with 2 stun-capable characters (Alistar, Annie, Taric, Sion, another Anivia) so that you don't get outflanked and killed. 

After level 6 or so, take a look at the map. How is your lane? Is the middle lane ripe for a gank? Can you take a minute with your partner and get golem/dragon? This is where you should be looking for a "big move" moment, but that opportuinity will change from game to game. Maybe your lane is getting pounded on by a strong enemy. If so, hold at the tower and use Glacial Storm to keep the creeps away from the tower. Remember, Anivia's slower than other champions, so your ganks will take you more time, meaning more lost XP if you fail.

Once your team starts to consolodate and 5-manning more, your role moves into support and damage. Managing your skills' timing is really important in the teamfight. Use walls to split the enemy team, save your Flash Frost's stun for a Katarina, Yi or Nunu ult, Glacial players that group up, and spam Frostbite on the primary target everytime it's frozen. Save your disables for crucial moments - don't blow them all on the combat's start.

When the chance arises, keep getting golem and farm up a creep wave really quickly with Glacial Storm. This will net you a lot of gold and experience very quickly, allowing you to push into more late game items. At this point, only go alone if you know where the enemy team is.

As you reach the later portion of the game, your team will likely start making coordinated tower pushes. This is also where enemy Yis, Sivirs, Twisted Fates, etc will try to backdoor your tower. As slowbird, you should be the one to defend the base when the need arises. It's difficult for the enemy to assault a tower alone with no creeps (via Glacial Storm melting them) and you being there. Smart use of snares and Crystallize will let you trap enemies in tower range for much longer than they'd like. Anivia is one of the best base defenders, utilize this quality when needed.


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Note: I've written this guide from a mid-ELO perspective, but it's designed to work in higher-ELO matches as opposed to trying to pubstomb with an Anivia carry or some such nonsense. I do play a number of "tryhard" 5v5s where more advanced teamwork and tactics are used, just not the best of those teams 


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