Teemo, the Swift Scout, is one of the most hated top laners in League of Legends. With a 53.90% win rate and a 7.42% play rate, he takes over the laning phase and crushes his opponent with an irritating hit-and-run playstyle. And if you try to all-in him, Teemo always has a trick or two up his sleeve. Let’s see how you can use the Swift Scout to climb the Solo Queue ladder!
Passive: Guerilla Warfare
Teemo gains invisibility if he doesn’t perform any actions for 1.5 seconds. As long as he doesn’t move or isn’t displaced, he remains stealthed. If Guerilla Warfare was activated in a brush, Teemo becomes invisible twice as fast (even while moving), and he can freely move within this brush. When Teemo breaks stealth, he gains bonus attack speed for 3 seconds.
How to use: While this passive sounds amazing on paper, you won’t be using it that often. Most of the time, you’ll want to take advantage of it in the beginning of the game by stealthing in a brush (or in the middle of the lane) and waiting for the perfect opportunity to chunk out your opponent. That being said, you can also activate it in the laning phase to take advantage of the extra attack speed.
Going invisible in a brush is a great way to survive a gank if you can’t make a timely escape. Remember, though, that your enemies will try to smoke you out of your cover, so you need to be moving at all times. In the late game, you can stealth next to a Noxious Trap [R] and catch out an enemy support or an unsuspecting carry. Just make sure the area where you’re stealthing isn’t warded.
Q: Blinding Dart
Teemo shoots a poisonous dart at the target enemy, dealing damage and blinding them briefly.
How to Use: Blinding Dart is a great point-and-click spell. While you can use it to harass your lane opponent and last-hit creeps, most of the time, you want to hold on to it until an all-in. The blind renders enemy auto attacks useless, so you’ll have several seconds of free reign in every 1v1 skirmish.
In the late game, save Blinding Dart for the enemy marksman. After all, few things are as useless as a AD carry that can’t auto attack.
W: Move Quick
Passive: Teemo gains bonus movement speed whenever he hasn’t taken damage from enemy champions or turrets for 5 seconds.
Active: Teemo gains a burst of movement speed for 3 seconds. This bonus can’t be disabled by incoming damage.
How to use: Even though Move Quick sounds basic, it’s one of your most valuable abilities. The passive bonus movement speed means you’ll always be faster than most opponents, making it very easy to kite them to death. And if things ever go south, activate your W and make a swift escape.
E: Toxic Shot
Passive: Teemo’s auto attacks poison their target, dealing magic damage over 4 seconds. Subsequent auto attacks refresh poison’s duration.
How to use: Once again, a very straightforward ability, but the damage from it adds up. You want to auto attack the enemy top laner anyway, and the poison makes it much easier to chip away at his health pool. Keep in mind that Toxic Shot is a DoT, so it will aggro enemy turrets if you wander close to them while it’s ticking.
R: Noxious Trap
Passive: Teemo periodically stores charges of Noxious Trap, up to a maximum of 3 at once.
Active: Teemo places a poisonous mushroom at the target locations. The mushroom arms after 1 second and lasts for 5 minutes, granting sight of the surrounding area. If an enemy steps on a mushroom, it explodes, poisoning nearby enemies, slowing them, and dealing magic damage over 4 seconds. Noxious Traps can be destroyed by champion auto attacks.
How to use: Noxious Trap is a bit unusual for an ultimate because you have to cast it before the fight to make use of it. At rank 1, they don’t hurt that much, although the slow is definitely annoying. But as you gain more AP and levels, Noxious Traps will grow stronger to the point where they can cripple the entire enemy team. Always look for the best spots to set up your traps because a well-placed mushroom can change the course of the whole game.
R > Q > E > W
Teemo gets the most damage out of Toxic Shot [E], so always max it first. Follow up with Blinding Dart [Q] because the increased burst and blind duration will definitely come in handy in mid game skirmishes. Save Move Quick [W] for last. Even though it’s a great utility spell, it doesn’t do as much for you in fights as your other abilities. And remember to level up Noxious Trap [R] when you can.
Even though Teemo has several viable rune pages, your best option lies in the Sorcery tree. Summon Aery is a surprisingly powerful keystone because its damage procs twice during Toxic Shot [E]. Meanwhile, Ultimate Hat gives you more Noxious Trap [R] charges, which is arguably your most impactful spell. Get Absolute Focus next. You don’t benefit as much from Transcendence or Celerity but the fact that you’re a ranged top laner should keep you relatively healthy in the early game. Finally, get Scorch to add more damage to your trades.
For your second rune path, take Precision. Legend: Alacrity bumps up the number of your auto attacks, and Coup de Grace makes it easier to finish off wounded foes.
Teemo Summoner Spells
Since Teemo is a top laner, you don’t have many options in terms of summoner spells. Grab Flash to get a gap to secure kills and avoid sticky situations, and pick Teleport to have a stronger splitpushing presence. If you think you have a good chance of taking over your lane, replace Teleport with Ignite.
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1.) Sorcerer’s Shoes > Liandry’s Torment > Nashor’s Tooth > Void Staff > Morellonomicon > Rabadon’s Deathcap
Teemo’s core build relies on increasing his magic damage. Even though we’ve listed Sorcerer’s Shoes first, finish a Haunting Guise before them to get a solid mix of AP, health, and magic penetration. Upgrade your boots next and complete Liandry’s Torment. These two items will make your poke sting more, and your mushrooms will chunk enemy squishies for a third of their health.
Nashor’s Tooth offers attack speed, ability power, and CDR—basically, everything Teemo could ever dream of. Get it next to become more powerful in teamfights and 1v1s. Since the enemy team is likely to stack magic resistance against you, build Void Staff to mitigate it. Morellonomicon is another must-have buy because it lets you hit that 40% CDR cap. Wrap up your build with Rabadon’s Deathcap to gain a massive AP boost.
Teemo Situational Items
Even though your core Teemo build is fairly flexible, you always want to consider situational items. Spellthief’s Edge and its upgrade, Frost Queen’s Claim, are great for taking advantage of good lane matchups and generating more gold with Bandit procs. Plus, the slowing active will definitely come in handy later. And while Sorcerer’s Shoes are amazing, sometimes you need to grab Ninja Tabi or Mercury’s Treads to survive against fed carries.
In a similar fashion, Zhonya’s Hourglass is a strong defensive item against the likes of Zed, Talon, and Kha’zix. And if you’re dominating your lane, take Hextech Gunblade to push your lead.
When to pick Teemo?
Teemo works best as a splitpusher. He wants to be away from his team, pushing waves, sieging turrets, and luring enemies into mushroom traps. Of course, this means your allies will be losing some teamfighting presence, so make sure they have a solid 4-man squad that doesn’t need a strong top laner to function.
Teemo Matchups and Counters
Teemo is the ultimate counter to most melee champions. If you see an enemy lock in Tryndamere, Renekton, Trundle, Kled, or Fiora in the top lane, there’s no better way of making their existence a living hell than picking the Swift Scout. That being said, Teemo tends to struggle against other lane bullies and assassins. Champions like Heimerdinger, Pantheon, Quinn, Rengar, Talon, and Jayce will always have an upper hand on him.
Teemo Laning Phase
Teemo’s laning phase is his strongest point in the game. Most of the time, you want to start with Doran’s Ring, but don’t hesitate to take Spellthief’s Edge if you’re facing an immobile tank like Malphite or Cho’Gath. Before the laning phase begins, you have the option of going top and using your passive in a brush or in the middle of the lane. Granted, you shouldn’t do this in tough matchups, but it’s a great way of securing a bigger lead against champions you already counter.
For level 1, you want to take Toxic Shot [E]. Poke the enemy laner as much as possible but be mindful of creeps. Minions deal a ton of damage to a squishy champion like Teemo, so you want to weave in and out of brushes to drop their aggro. If your opponent backs away, stand still and activate your passive. This way, you’ll have more attack speed when he finally walks up for CS.
Level 2 presents a sizeable powerspike because you gain access to Blinding Dart [Q]. The blind makes it easy to win all-ins against most tanks and bruisers, and even ranged champions will have a hard time trading without their auto attacks. Technically, this does mean you should be able to harass your lane opponent to death. In practice, though, there’s another thing you need to worry about.
Since you don’t have a reliable gap closer, it’s really easy to die to the enemy jungler in the early game. Make sure you ward the most probable gank routes and pay attention to your minimap. Even though you want to be pushing for the majority of the laning phase, try to freeze the wave on your side of the map if the enemy jungler is nearby.
Things become a bit better once you unlock Move Quick [W]. But while the movement speed steroid is great for kiting and 1v1s, it won’t save you from a well-timed jungle gank. Still, you can strike back at level 6 because Noxious Trap [R] is great for discouraging roams and providing vision.
Set up your shrooms on top of the most probable gank routes to gain vision of the enemy jungler and chunk him out before he has a chance of engaging you in combat. Another way of using your mushrooms is placing them on the side of your lane. If you do it right, you’ll have an escape path ready if someone decides to show up and ruin your top lane party.
Also, remember to keep a charge of your ultimate on you at all times. While Noxious Trap does take some time to arm, you can still drop it on top of yourself to kite the enemy top laner and deal more damage in an all-in. And if you need a good back timing, throwing a shroom into the enemy minion wave doesn’t hurt either. Keep at it until you tear down the top lane turret and enter the mid game.
Teemo Mid Game
Unlike other top laners, Teemo rarely—if ever—wants to group with his team in the mid game. On the contrary, you want to be on the other side of the map as much as possible. If you’ve dominated your laning phase like you were supposed to, the enemy team will have a hard time selecting a single champion to stop you. Which means they’ll send several players at once.
This is where Noxious Traps [R] come in. Set up your shrooms in the enemy jungle to make sure you get a visual of any incoming enemies. Sometimes you can even take a 1v2 if they’ve walked across several traps, but it’s better to avoid unnecessary risks. Simply back off and let your team do its thing 4v3 on the other side of the map. Once you see more enemy champions moving towards them, go back to splitpushing.
The flip side of this is that you won’t offer much in 5v5s. Teemo’s kit isn’t made for fighting several foes at once, so he’s one of the most underwhelming champions in teamfights. Still, if the enemy team has hard engage, you might be forced to group regardless. Don’t fret, though, because it’s possible to make Teemo work here.
Blinding Dart [Q] is perfect for shutting down assassins and AD carries, so use it as much as possible on these targets. Meanwhile, Move Quick [W] makes you very slippery, and you’ll be able to kite most foes to death. But your biggest asset is Noxious Traps. Teemo wants to move back in teamfights, and you should always drop mushrooms to make it harder for the enemy frontline to follow you. Once they get low enough, chase them down with your increased movement speed.
Teemo Late Game
Depending on how the enemy team navigates the late game, Teemo is either a monster or a complete non-factor. Control Wards and Sweeping Lenses can render Noxious Traps [R] useless, which severely limits your options. However, if the enemy team doesn’t invest into these, you can take over the entire game by creating mushroom minefields.
In the end, it’s impossible to influence enemy actions, so let’s talk about things you can control. You should still stick to splitpushing. Keep in mind, though, that the stakes are much higher, and dying here might very well lead to a loss. That’s why it’s even more important to build a shroom safety net and ward for incoming enemies. If you can’t avoid dying while splitpushing, you want to make sure your team secures a valuable objective on the other side of the map.
Speaking of objectives, Teemo is surprisingly good at controlling these. If you set up Noxious Traps [R] in choke points around Baron or Elder Dragon, your enemies will have a hard time securing vision control. And if they want to fight you, they’ll have to walk through an entire minefield first.
When you’re on the defensive, place mushrooms in your own jungle to provide more vision to your team. Also, putting a few Noxious Traps in the middle of the lane (but away from creeps) usually pays off sooner or later.
Teemo is the perfect champion to tilt your enemies. His laning phase is already oppressive, but he becomes even more overwhelming in the later stages of the gmae thanks to Noxious Traps and Blinding Darts. If you master his kit and work on your laning, you’ll always make your presence known in Solo Queue.