Orianna, the Lady of Clockwork, has rightfully earned the title of the queen of mid lane. And even with her current 49.48% win percentage and an 8.94% pick rate, she remains the go-to pick for professionals and high-Elo Solo Queue players alike. Orianna is the ultimate jack-of-all-trades, a champion that always does well in lane and out of it.
Let’s see how you can use her versatile kit to the fullest!
Passive: Clockwork Windup
The Ball: Orianna can control The Ball, which she uses to cast her abilities. If Orianna walks too close or too far away from The Ball, it attaches itself back to her.
Clockwork Winding: Orianna’s auto attacks deal bonus magic damage. If she attacks the same target within 4 seconds, she deals 20% bonus magic damage. This effect stacks up to two times.
How to use: Every Orianna player needs to be mindful of The Ball since controlling it opens up countless opportunities. But we’ll get to that later. What’s more interesting is the auto attack part of the passive. Not only does it give Orianna’s auto attacks Ap scaling, making them relevant throughout the entire game, but the stacking bonus damage means that Orianna can outtrade almost any opponent in the early game.
Q: Command Attack
Orianna orders The Ball to fly to the specified location, dealing damage to all enemies it passes through. Each enemy hit reduces The Ball’s damage to subsequent targets by 10% down to a minimum of 40%.
How to use: This is Orianna’s bread and butter. At max level, Command Attack is on a 3 seconds cooldown, making it easy to reposition The Ball and chunk out your enemies with a quick combo. Always look to position The Ball in a way that makes it hard for your enemies to get farm or enter teamfights.
W: Command Dissonance
Orianna orders The Ball to emit an electric pulse around its current location. The pulse deals magic damage to surrounding enemies and leaves an electric field that speeds up allies and slows down enemies.
How to use: Throwing out Command Attack [Q] and instantly following it up with Command Dissonance is your main trading combo. Use it to chunk out your lane opponents and deal damage in teamfights. Also, keep in mind that Command Dissonance doubles down as a utility spell, so always look for opportunities to speed up your teammates or catch out retreating enemies.
E: Command Protect
Passive: The Ball gives bonus armor, magic resistance, and a shield to the champion it’s attached to. This effect lasts 4 seconds.
Active: Orianna orders The Ball to attach itself to her teammate or to herself. Any enemies that The Ball passes through on the way to its target receive magic damage.
How to use: Another versatile tool in your toolkit. Not only can you use Command Protect to reposition your ball, but you can also shield your allies and combo it with other abilities. Remember that this ability can actually deal damage (80% of the shield strength at max level), so make sure to put it in a position where it can have the most devastating effect.
R: Command Shockwave
Active: Orianna orders The Ball to trigger a powerful Shockwave after a 0.75 seconds delay. Shockwave deals damage to all nearby enemies and pulls them towards The Ball.
How to use: This is the spell that makes Orianna so effective in teamfights. A single well-placed Shockwave can turn the tables in the direst of situations. Use this ability to chunk out your lane opponent in the early game and to dismantle the opposing team in the late game 5v5s. Since the Shockwave has great scaling, you can also try throwing it out to steal Baron Nashor or Elder Dragon. Keep in mind that Shockwave’s cast range increases if you use it in combination while The Ball is attached to an allied champion with Command Protect [E].
R > Q > W > E
You can get away with the same Orianna skill order every game. Since your Command Attack [Q] is vital to repositioning The Ball, you want to max it first and follow this up by investing skill points into Command Dissonance [W] for the combo potential and the added utility. Wrap your build up with Command Protect [E], and, of course, don’t forget to level up your ultimate when it’s available. One minor deviation you can do is starting with a single skill point into Command Protect [E], but we’ll get to that later.
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Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells
As with most mid laners, you’ll want to have two Orianna rune pages: against AP and AD champions.
For AP threats, use 3x Ability Power Quintessences, 9x Magic Penetration Marks, 9x Scaling Health Seals, 3x Magic Resist Glyphs, and 6x Scaling CDR Glyphs. This way, you’ll have a great mix of early game damage and bulkiness while also enjoying the benefit of having ‘free’ 10% CDR at level 18.
Against AD mid laners, you want to use 3x Ability Power Quintessences, 9x Magic Penetration Marks, 9x Armor Seals, 3x Scaling AP Glyphs, and 6x Scaling CDR Glyphs. As you can see, the only changes affect your Seals and Glyphs. Armor is a better defensive stat than health against physical damage dealers, and MR Glyphs won’t do much here, so we’re replacing them with AP for some trading power.
Orianna masteries are simple as well. Go for the 12/18/0 page with the Thunderlord’s Decree keystone. There are some tweaks you can do like taking Fresh Blood instead of Feast if you want to prioritize trading power instead of sustainability or swapping out Assassin for Secret Stash. But in general, you can get away with running the same exact Orianna page every game.
Orianna works well with a wide range of Summoner Spells. You always want to take Flash since Orianna doesn’t have any built-in escapes. If you’re going against a long-range mage that plays around skill shots, get Heal or Ghost to close the distance. Taking Exhaust or Barrier will add survivability against assassins and burst-heavy mages. And cleanse is great versus all the League of Legends champions that rely on locking you down to deal the bulk of their damage (think Lux or Lissandra) or CC-heavy junglers (think Elise). Finally, Ignite will add more kill pressure in favorable matchups.
For your starting items, get a Doran’s Ring, two Health Potions, and a Warding Totem. As for the actual build, there are several ways you can go, depending on the matchup.
1.) Morellonomicon > Luden’s Echo > Void Staff > Zhonya’s Hourglass > Rabadon’s Deathcap > Sorcerer’s Shoes
This build offers you a great 2-item powerspike with a solid transition into mid-game teamfights. Rush Morellonomicon first by getting the Lost Chapter, and try to squeeze in Sorcerer’s Shoes for the additional magic penetration. Once you get your Luden’s Echo, you can dismantle squishy targets with the Q > W > R combo (bonus points if you weave in a few auto attacks). The Void Staff will allow you to bypass enemy magic resistance while Zhonya’s Hourglass will increase your survivability in 5v5s. As for Rabadon’s Deathcap, it’s a great last purchase because of its massive AP boost.
2.) Morellonomicon > Luden’s Echo > Void Staff > Banshee’s Veil > Rabadon’s Deathcap > Sorcerer’s Shoes
As you can see, the main difference here is the addition of Banshee’s Veil instead of Zhonya’s Hourglass. That’s because we’re tailoring this build against AP threats. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to rush Banshee’s Veil outright, and sitting on an early Negatron’s Cloak is more than fine.
2.) Morellonomicon > Luden’s Echo > Void Staff > Liandry’s Torment > Rabadon’s Deathcap > Sorcerer’s Shoes
Say hello to raw damage! Liandry’s passives will add a ton of damage to your teamfights, and you’ll be able to deal with tanks, too. If you’re ahead, get an early Haunting Guise—the magic pen will make your combos that much deadlier in the laning phase. Keep in mind that this build leaves zero room for mistakes, but the payoff is huge.
Even with the above builds, there are several situational items you might want to take. First, consider your Boots options. Sorcerer’s Shoes are great for pushing your edge in the laning phase, but buying Ninja Tabi or Mercury’s Treads is a much better option if you’re falling behind. In a similar fashion, Ionian Boots of Lucidity present you with CDR that affects your core abilities and your summoner spells—which is great for a utility-based build.
Then there’s the Rod of Ages. Misfits’ mid laner PowerOfEvil often gets it in place of a Morellonomicon. The item adds health, mana, ability power and simultaneously scales into the late game. Of course, Morello offers a stronger 1-item powerspike, so get it at your own risk.
Another trick from PowerOfEvil’s book is Nashor’s Tooth. This purchase capitalizes on Orianna’s passive to make her into a mix between a marksman and a mage. Keep in mind that you’ll need to throw in a few AS runes and alter your playstyle to make the most out of your empowered auto attacks.
Quicksilver Sash is another purchase that’s very useful in certain matchups. Buy it if you’re facing Malzahar or if you forgot to take Cleanse against a Lissandra/Elise combo.
When to pick?
Orianna is a versatile champion that can make it through most laning phases. That being said, she does work better if you have a team comp built around her. For starters, you’ll need a bulky frontline—preferably someone that can jump into the fray while carrying your ball. An early game jungler is also great since you can pull off some clutch ganks with The Ball. Finally, the amount of built-in utility in Orianna’s kit makes her perfect with hypercarries. Just make sure you don’t lose track of your Kog’Maw in 5v5s.
Matchups and Counters
As I’ve mentioned above, Orianna doesn’t have a ton of counters. That being said, you want to avoid highly mobile champions that can seamlessly dodge your Command Shockwave [R]. In a similar fashion, anti-mage tanks like Cho’Gath or Galio can keep pushing you in while tanking the majority of your damage. Still, if you play your cards right, you’ll never feel outmatched in the laning phase. At worst, you can farm it out and outscale the opposing mid laner.
Laning Phase And Early Game
You’ll want to start with different abilities, depending on your matchup. If you find yourself laning against a melee champion or a short-range mage, put a skill point into Command Attack [Q] and start chipping away at their health. Against long-range mages or champions with strong trading potential (Kassadin), start with Command Protect [E] and just auto them when your shield’s up. The nature of your passive will make it easy for you to win prolonged trades, but pay extra heed to the creeps. After all, you never want to be tanking those in the early game.
Speaking of creeps, make sure to place The Ball next to enemy ranged minions. This way, you’ll be able to go for a quick Q > W > Auto Attack combo if the enemy laner ever steps forward. While Orianna is perfectly capable of killing her opponents, this isn’t your goal here. Instead, look to farm up for your Lost Chapter and push in the wave for a free recall. Otherwise, try to keep the wave in the middle of the lane or close to your turret (you’re very easy to gank early on), and only go for the jugular if you see your opponent make a mistake.
Once you get your buy, it will be much easier to sustain through the laning phase. Place a Control Ward into one of your brushes and start going for aggressive trades. Your goal is to push the wave in and a) poke the mid laner under the turret or b) roam to other lanes. Also, keep in mind that you can use your Command Shockwave on yourself to start the animation and then Flash in to catch the enemy laner off guard.
Once the teamfights start, you have two ways of using The Ball. First, look to start the fight with a powerful wombo-combo that deletes one of their squishies. Usually, you’ll need some help from your allies or a vision-free brush to pull this off. Second, bide your time and kite back while waiting for the perfect moment to trigger Command Shockwave [R]. Both playstyles have their uses, so it’s up to you to identify which one is the most beneficial at any given time.
Remember that even if you haven’t made up your mind yet, The Ball is a powerful zoning tool. Placing it right in the middle of a skirmish will often make enemy carries hesitant to enter a teamfight, effectively bringing the numbers advantage to your side. If you find yourself (or your allies) getting swarmed by divers, use your kit defensively. Throwing a well-timed shield onto one of your carries might very well be the difference between winning and losing.
This is where you start seriously hurting. A single Orianna rotation can delete an enemy carry, so they’ll have no choice but to respect it. Use this to your advantage during sieges by placing The Ball next to enemy turrets. This also makes you excellent for neutral objectives since you can set up a trap in a brush and land a devastating combo onto advancing adversaries. The death brush tactic can be useful while fleeing too since it’s all too easy to wander out of their sight to throw out a clutch ultimate.
Late game teamfights become a balancing act between dealing damage to enemies and giving utility to allies. Of course, you’re not a support, so damage should always be your priority. But if you ever have a fed hypercarry on your team, consider assisting him with shields and movement speed. And always look for opportunities to pull off a game-winning Shockwave [R].
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There’s a reason why Orianna is the queen of mid lane. Her insane versatility allows her to make it through most lanes unscathed and transition into a smooth mid game. And once 5v5s start, few mid laners can match what Orianna brings to the table. Mastering her kit and controlling The Ball won’t be easy, but once you do it, you’ll find yourself in complete command of your Solo Queue games.