Maniacalpenny here with my first Solomid Guide. I wrote a few guides on Leaguecraft back in the day but after the site traffic toned down I neglected to keep my guides up to date. Diana, however, is too interesting for me to pass up.
This guide is NOT for a jungle Diana. I realize she is a decent jungler but in my opinion she is strongest when played in a lane. This guide teaches you how to play Mid or Top lane AP Bruiser Diana.
About ManiacalpennyI am not a high ELO player. I'm currently around 1450 ELO but I don't play much ranked. I'd like to say I'm better than that but obviously I have no proof. I play Mid for my University team and tend to do decently. My best champions are Lux, Ashe, Irelia, and Cassiopeia. I obviously play a number of other mid champs with reasonable competency.
I have played Diana since release and have been very successful. I've experimented a little bit with her builds but mostly I stick to my theorycraft guns (Also watch other Dianas failing epically with other builds). Since Diana has seen such a large variety of builds I've decided to release a guide of my own of what I believe is currently the best way to build Diana.
Why AP Bruiser?Diana in her current iteration can be played in a variety of different ways. AP burst, AP bruiser, AP/AS hybrid, and even AD bruiser are all viable options. They are viable because riot f*cked up and Diana is OP.
-Abuses champs and zones them very hard when ahead
-Strong chasing power over top lane
-Low mana cost on q
-Shield helps win trades
-W is mana costly if leveled
-Can be hard to run from ganks
-Tons of damage.
-Has good ratios, even on her passive
-Shield gives psuedotankiness
-Dies instantly because she is meele
-Can't take good advantage of passive/low cds because she blows up too fast
IMO this style is fun, but you cant screw up and are easy to shut down. If you want to play a burst assassin play Lux mid and do the same thing at 1100 range. A meele with no escape needs to build tanky.
-Even more damage potential than the build above
-Gets to use Nashors Tooth
-Has to autoattack a ton
-Blows up instantly if not built with some tankiness
-Get to troll other team with shit like wits end, trinity force, and gunblade
-It's still viable because Diana is broken
-High base damage with high cdr allows her to dish out good damage without huge amounts of AP
-Sticks to champs very well and can quickly kill squishy targets
-Takes good advantage of per passive as she can stay in the front lines and autoattack between spells
-Shield is very effective because of high resistances, spellvamp, and low CD
-Could play passive or ratios to higher potential
-Still gets blown up if focused
TL:DR I prefer to build Diana AP Bruiser because she has low cds and good base damages on her spells, is meele with no escape, and can stick to targets well.
MasteriesI skip havoc and take the increased damage to minions because Diana has godawful base autoattack damage (for a melee) to make up for her passive. The passive is cool for last hitting but unreliable and pushes lane.
Other stuff pretty self explanatory... Though you might choose to take tankier masteries to make up for Diana's weak 1-5.
RunesQuints: I take flat AP for better harass and farming. Consider MR/Armor flats based on enemy, MS quints against heavy skillshot champs like cass or karthus. Most quints should work... just don't make retarded decisions.
Blues: If laning mid or against an AP top, definitely MR flats. Otherwise consider flat Mpen, scaling AP, or scaling mp5.
Yellows: If laning against an AD, definitely armor flats. Otherwise consider scaling mp5 or your preference.
Reds: Flat Mpen the only way to go here imo.
Flash is broken, ignite lets you finish people off.
I could see an argument for because she has a psuedoflash but ultimately I feel like with rylais and her ult you stick to targets extremely well and ghost is not needed. Maybe ghost would be superior for running away but you will be in the thick of things so imo flash is the way to go.
Some top laners like to take but imo she really does want the ignite for the additional burst. Unless you have a lot of team coordination and can take advantage of the teleport to take dragons/gank bot or split push, I think ignite is generally the better option for Diana.
I think Diana has enough sticking power as it is, so this is a no-go in my book. Instead of stopping the ADC's dmg temporarily with exhaust, stop it permanently with ignite.
if you are jungling.
I can't see any decent arguments to take any of the other summoners.
Passive: Moonsilver Blade
Diana has increased Attack Speed. Every third strike cleaves nearby enemies for additional magic damage.
Decent passive. Best for jungling but can put out some nice dps during teamfights, especially when dueling other bruisers. A bit synergistic with your e as well.
Q: Crescent Strike
Diana swings her blade to unleash a bolt of lunar energy, afflicting enemies with Moonlight and dealing damage in an arc before exploding.
One of the most broken nukes in the game right now IMO. Static 55 mana cost, decent range, line and circle AOE, 260 base damage and a .8 ratio on a 6 second (min 3.6 seconds) cd. Again, broken. It's one of the things that allows her to build a variety of items and still dish out serious damage.
Great for checking brushes, its synergy with your r, harassing, farming, stealing kills, killing buffs, ect.
The weird arcing skillshot takes a little bit of getting used to. Like a real man I played Diana smartcast from game 1, and it confused the fuck out of me until I lost my manliness and clicked the icon. Then it all made sense.
W: Pale Cascade
Diana creates three orbiting spheres that detonate on contact with enemies to deal damage in an area. She also gains a temporary shield that absorbs damage. This shield is refreshed if all three spheres detonate.
Another powerful skill. A shield + nuke that both scale off AP. With cdr and some resistances this will make you quite tanky. Spam this in teamfights and duels, use E or R as nessesary to instantly proc the damage and/or get a reset on the shield. Also useful to mitigate damage pre 6 against ranged heroes, or trade in top lane.
Diana draws in and slows all nearby enemies.
Orianna R + E, without the damage. Very strong CC, also a 1 point wonder. The range is pretty short though so make sure you don't whiff it. Best used to chase or initiate, can also be used to peel if necessary.
R: Lunar Rush
Diana teleports to an enemy and deals magic damage. Lunar Rush has no cooldown when used to teleport to a target afflicted with Moonlight.
Combined with rylai's no enemy will get away from you. Unless bursting down a single target ASAP, you should generally only R once after a Q. This will allow you to continue to R after every Q for maximum chasing power, damage, and rylai's procs. Note that you will consume all charges of moonlight on the field when you R, so you cannot R multiple targets with Q applied on them without putting R on cd.
Skill OrderQWQWQRQE or QWQE
Generally max Q first as it's broken. It also is good harass and good to cs with. If in a difficult lane, especially top, W might be prioritized over Q.
I like taking a second point of W at lvl 4 instead of my E because I don't plan on being aggressive and it really helps mitigate the damage coming out of the opposing mid. If your jungler plans to gank or something like that, or you like being aggressive, go ahead and take E at lvl 4. It's a great spell, but I just don't find it to be that useful to me unless I'm already dominating.
Of course, e is a 1 point wonder so leave it to max last.
+ or +
Boots 3 pots most recommended start, though against strong early game AD top I can see cloth/5 being a good option.
or or +
Try to grab a dorans or two on your first back. Going dorans + boots 2, giants belt, or negatron cloak are also good options if you have the money and will get your blue buff soon (typically the case). If you are laning top you might consider a philo stone, as you are not guaranteed to be dominant post 6 as often as you will be mid. You also need the mana regen as you cannot rely on blues. Sometimes in a passive lane you might pick up the 2nd GP10. If you want a future DFG, go ahead and take the kage's pick instead.
If a hard lane top grab defensive boots. If you are winning go ahead on grab sorc shoes.
Grab sorc shoes mid unless you are against a very strong AP mid like LB that you don't want to randomly die to.
Rylai's is an excellent item on Diana IMO. It gives her everything she needs; HP, AP, and cc/sticking power. The slow makes it easy to chain Q/W combos and the W orbs will constantly slow as they hit one by one (aoe though, so not as imba as ahri W). The other choice here would be RoA, but Diana has trivialized mana costs so IMO a few dorans easily remedies your mana problems.
CDR is essential on Diana. I personally prefer the FH to be tanky, as the DFG active can only hit after your q+r. Some people swear by DFG but I'm not trying to be sneaky and drop people instantly, I'm trying to be inevitable and drop people in an unstoppable manner. In a top lane against an AD I will often grab a fast glacial shroud to dominate trades and improve my chasing power.
I will sometimes grab this before any cdr, as it's a very strong item and dominates the opposing mid. Against hard AP lanes I will often grab a fast neg cloak and hang on to it for later.
Much of her damage is AOE so the WotA isn't the best in that regard, but her low cd AP scaling shield makes this item worth it. Think rumble and riven: this is a similar effect and significantly improves her tankiness.
Big nuke item. Gives a big boost to damage as well as the strength of your shield. It's only AP though, so IMO you want to grab some tankiness and CDR in most cases before getting this. If you are stomping, you might grab it after Rylais. I like getting this item late in the game after I have the other stuff I want.
Another big nuking item, but its not great without a lot of AP. I've toyed with the idea of selling my boots for a lichbane at the end and relying on my ult and cc for mobility but honestly selling boots is rarely a good idea. Still, it has good synergy with her passive and skillset and if you are tanky you will get a lot of procs from it.
Has nice armor and a nice active. Very good for initiations combined with her R, and E, can set up huge aoe combos with other heroes like Malphite.
Another decent item to be tanky or an initiator. Just don't do dumb stuff and waste it... the CD is quite long.
Example Final Build:
Mid, Levels 1-5Play passively. Not even a gank is much good for you because you lack gap closers or ranged CC. The goal here is to stall out until 6 and then dominate the opposition. Use your Q to last hit and harass from afar, but keep on eye on your mana. Without mana you cannot do anything, not even farm. Sometimes it's worth using W to get some last hits as well, or if the other mid suddenly makes a move on you.
Don't overspam Q, as pushing your lane can lead to bad things. Try to get the lane pushed to your tower so its easier to cs. No one is expecting you to win lane at this point, just try to keep the cs reasonable close. As you approach level 6, try to harass your opponent down to 60-70%, as you can easily burst them down once you get your ultimate. If you go back to buy make sure to get wards and a few pots if possible. You do not have good escapes so you will likely die or at least burn flash to a gank.
Mid, Levels 6+, dominating your laneNow is the the time to destroy your lane. If your opponent is at 60-70% you can try to go for a kill. Try to lane a Q on the opposing lane. If you don't think you can kill them, just R and back off or wait for another Q. Once in kill range with Q on the opposing mid, hit w and then r onto them to pop all of them and burst your opponent. Ignite them and start autoattacking, use E if you have it as it will slow them even if they flash. If they flash R again and finish them off, or if you are towerdiving R immediately to get as much burst as possible and get out.
At this point in the game I like to buy a giants belt to beef up my hp. This ensures that when I go in for the kill I won't die in her counterburst. You also will win longer fights with the other mid laner due to your shield and passive. So yes you can build more burst but its the riskier option and more likely to end up with both or just you dead instead of your opponent.
After you've dominated your lane (or determined that its not possible to dominate), you should try to do some roaming. Diana is a decent roamer, and can quickly pick off AD carries or supports. If you have rylai's you have solid CC when combined with your E and can take down tankier targets like the jungler or the top lane. It is also very easy to KS your teammates. In soloq you should do this as often as possible as you can't trust them to carry shit. In normals its funny. In ranked 5's or tournaments, you should do it with care. Bruiser Diana snowballs very hard though so its not terrible.
Top laneAlthough your ultimate is still a big boon, it does not turn a lane from disadvantage to advantage as much as it does midlane. Often you will still be able to farm top lane before 6, and often will still be unable to massively burst your opponent post 6. Top lane to me is a little more dependent on your items.
You also might choose to level w first in the top lane for stronger trades, but take care that W mana cost is higher than Q and scales with level. You should look to harass your lane with Q -> R and activate W later. This is because you want to get full use of your shield instead of instantly bursting and refreshing the shield with no benefit. Don't R twice unless going for the kill. You should also be hesitant to use E because of its long CD ad mana cost for no damage.
Don't just blindly rush rylais every matchup, or even dorans. Top lane is highly item dependent in my opinion and defensive items should be carefully selected in order to win your matchup. Also consider a fast hextech revolver for lane sustain. Fast CDR is also more valuable because trades are more prolonged and you can get more uses of your abilities in a single fight.
TeamfightingYou have one job. Kill the enemy AD carry. Diana is hard to peel and has a lot of damage, especially with ignite. unless you can instagibb the ADC you should try to wait on your Q to R against because you will drastically lower your DPS otherwise. If that's impossible or you are fighting other targets, try to save your R for after every Q to maximize dps. Shield should be spammed whenever its off cd. E is strong for initiating, but elsewise you should just use it to help stick or peel.
With rylai's you have decent peel, and if necessary you shouldn't hesitate to defend your own ADC over killing the enemy's. Diving their ADC is ultimately your best role though, so generally you should default to that.
Tips and Tricks-You can Q a creep and R to it to chase. Note that if you have too much AP this might simply kill the creeps.
-You can use R to dodge or jump over skillshots. Especially strong against skillshot disables such as brand or ahri, as you can decimate them at meele range with their disables gone.
-When tower diving you can Q->R and save the second R to get out given enemy creeps are nearby.
-You can E an enemy or R to them to instantly explode your W and refresh your shield.
-Max Q range is similar to Max R range, which means that if you plan on ulting to someone you need to move towards them after your Q fires out.
-Q gives vision so it can be useful in farming jungle camps or checking brushes.
-With CDR and spellvamp Diana is capable of soloing baron.
End NotesThanks for reading. As I gain more experience I will update this guide.
Rate and review! I'm happy to answer (most) questions.
Change LogAugust 9th, 2012: Guide is released.