Twitch, the Plague Rat, is one of the staple bot lane picks in League of Legends. With a 53.12% win percentage and a 10.49% pick rate, the champion presents great opportunities for anyone looking to climb the Solo Queue ladder. And even among the best marksman picks, he stands out because of his unusual combination of assassin’s playstyle and hypercarry potential.
This guide will delve deep into the mindset of a high-elo Twitch player and show you how to use his kit to break open Solo Queue games. Keep in mind that this will be dedicated to the AD carry Twitch only, so we won’t be covering his performance in the jungle.
See also: LoL Champions for Beginners
Passive: Deadly Venom
Twitch’s auto attacks apply poison to his target. Poison stacks up to 6 times, lasts 6 seconds, and deals a small amount of true damage. Each auto attack resets Deadly Venom’s duration.
How to use: There once was a time when Deadly Venom was powerful enough that you could count on it to finish off wounded foes. But that time is long gone. Nowadays, it gives a bit of bite to your trades and—most importantly—allows you to use Contaminate [E] on your targets.
After a 1 second delay, Twitch becomes camouflaged, gaining 10% movement speed while stealthed and up to 50% bonus attack speed upon breaking stealth. If an enemy champion dies while affected by Deadly Venom, Ambush’s cooldown is reset. The bonus movement speed is increased three times in the cases when Twitch moves towards enemies that cannot see him.
How to use: Ambush is one of the most versatile abilities in the game. First, you can use it as a steroid during the laning phase. Go into a bush, start channeling the ability, and then get the jump onto the enemy bot lane and a sweet attack speed boost on top of that. The same tactic can be utilized out of the laning phase on squishy champions that find themselves pushed too far up.
Combining Ambush with Spray and Pray [R] will turn you into a teamfighting monster that can single-handedly demolish a 5-man squad. And, of course, you can use the spell as a way to hide from approaching enemies. Oh, and did we mention that you can hit the ability and start channeling your back to get a stealthy Recall? Keep in mind that Ambush doesn’t make you 100% invisible. If you come too close to your adversaries, they can—and will—notice you.
W: Venom Cask
Twitch throws a cask at the target location. The cask applies a stack of Deadly Venom to all enemies hit and leaves a toxic cloud. Enemies in the cloud are slowed and gain additional Deadly Venom stacks.
How to use: The most obvious application of Venom Cask is to throw it at your foes during trades. Whether you’re simply exchanging auto attacks in the laning phase or launching a surprise attack on the unsuspecting foe, it’s always good to use Venom Cask and get your passive stacking. Additionally, Venom Cask can be utilized to zone away your enemies—after all, no one wants to willingly step into a poisonous cloud—or as a slow to cover your escape. Remember that poison affects the creeps too, so Venom Cask serves as a useful wave clear tool.
Twitch deals magic damage to nearby poisoned enemies. The more stacks your enemies have, the more damage they take.
How to use: This is a clear-cut nuke. Use Contaminate to win trades and burst down fleeing foes. Ideally, you want all 6 stacks up and running for the best possible damage output, but even 3-4 stacks will make for a decent trade. So whenever you find yourself sitting at full mana, don’t hesitate to go for an Auto + Venom Cask + Auto + Contaminate combo.
R: Spray and Pray
Twitch’s auto attacks turn into piercing bolts with bonus attack damage and 300 additional range. Each bolt deals 20% less damage to subsequent targets down to a minimum of 40% damage. Using Spray and Pray during Ambush [Q] doesn’t break stealth.
How to use: The ultimate is what makes Twitch so scary in teamfights. Whether it’s dealing damage from the backline or getting up close and personal for a quick assassination, Twitch can take a single positioning mistake and turn it into a swift team wipe. Always look for opportunities to Spray and Pray when the opposing team clumps up or gets into a choke point.
R > E > Q > W
You want to start with a point in Contaminate [E] to make sure you win any prolonged trades. At level 2, take Venom Cask [W] to get more stacks in skirmishes and follow it up with a point in Ambush [Q]. Keep maxing Contaminate [E] while investing skill points into your ultimate when it’s possible. Max Ambush [Q] second and wrap up your leveling ordeal with Venom Cask [W]. If you follow this skill order, you’ll have strong trading thanks to Contaminate [E] and a powerful steroid teamfighting steroid that doubles down as an assassination tool.
Runes, Masteries, and Summoner Spells
Twitch benefits from a standard marksman page with 3x AS Quintessences, 9x AD Marks, 9x Armor Seals, and 9x MR Glyphs. Since this is a champion that enjoys having the most attack speed (you can launch more bolts with your ultimate), you should always look for opportunities to squeeze in a few AS runes.
For example, take attack speed Glyphs against teams with little to no magic damage. Hell, even if they have magic damage, don’t be shy to take 3-4 AS Glyphs anyway. And throw in one or two AS marks for better scaling. Remember, you want the most attacks speed possible, so every little bit counts.
A standard Twitch masteries page is an 18/0/12 page with the Fervor of Battle. Fervor’s a great keystone for Twitch because of its synergy with Runaan’s Hurricane and Spray and Pray [R]. Since you won’t have the life steal from Warlord’s Bloodlust, you’ll need to get Vampirism instead of Natural Talent to survive the laning phase. Resolve masteries serve a similar purpose while also making you tankier during your Ambush [Q] plays.
You almost always want to run Heal and Flash. The only time when you might want to swap out Heal in favor of Barrier is when your support’s running Heal in your place. On another note, Cleanse might be useful against bottom lanes with CC that’s hard to dodge (like Ashe arrow or Varus ultimate), but you’ll have to sacrifice quite a bit of trading power to make room for it.
Most of the time you’ll want to start with a Doran’s Shield to make up for your lack of sustain. Since Twitch has a fairly unique playstyle, his builds can vary. First, you can capitalize on his high assassination potential by rushing the Blade of the Ruined King. In that case, your build will look something like this:
BotRK > Infinity Edge >Runaan’s Hurricane > Statikk Shyv > Lord Dominik’s Regards > Berserker’s Greaves
Blade of the Ruined King offers a great mix of early sustainability and dueling power while crit items provide you with a timely powerspike for 5v5s. But if you want to become a teamfighting terror as fast as possible, you might want to go for this build instead:
Infinity Edge > Runaan’s Hurricane > Statikk Shyv > Lord Dominik’s Regards > Mercurial Scimitar > Berserker’s Greaves
The reason for getting Runaan’s Hurricane instead of other AS/crit items is its synergy with your ultimate. Since Spray and Pray [R] increases your range, Hurricane bolts will also travel further and hit more targets. As for other items, Statikk Shyv gives a nice damage bump to your first auto attack, Lord Dominik’s Regards makes you into a massive threat for tanks, and Mercurial Scimitar throws in some life steal and a QSS active on top of that. Also, keep in mind that we’re not suggesting to get Berserker’s Greaves last, so make room for them while you’re building your first two items. And make sure to buy a few Control Wards too.
As with any champion, there are a few situational Twitch items to consider.
Phantom Dancer is great for countering pesky bruisers that won’t let you do your job in teamfights. On top of that, you can purchase it in place of your boots in extreme late game situations to hit that 100% critical strike cap.
If you’re facing a fed assassin, you’ll want to get a Guardian Angel to make sure you can actually survive in skirmishes. And in case the enemy team is running heavy magic damage, consider building a Hexdrinker and eventually upgrading it into Maw of Malmortius. Finally, Mortal Reminder is one of those items you just have to get against heavy healers (Soraka) and champions with a ton of sustain (Maokai).
When to pick?
As is the case with most hypercarries, the Plague Rat benefits from having an Ardent Censer support. Throw in some peel, and you’ll have the dream scenario of every Twitch main, so look at picks like Janna, Soraka, Lulu, and Sona from your support.
That’s not to say Twitch doesn’t work with melee champions. For example, Braum offers a strong shield you can cover, and Taric has a surprising synergy with your Ambush [Q] since your enemies won’t see his stun coming if you’re approaching them from stealth.
It also helps to have a robust frontline, but that’s not a definitive requirement. After all, stealth gives you plenty of opportunities to outmaneuver your enemies.
Matchups and Counters
Twitch struggles against fellow hypercarries and aggressive marksmen. Picks like Tristana or Kog’Maw will simply outscale you while matching you in all-in scenarios. Meanwhile, a wild Draven can run you down before you can take advantage of your stealth and poison stacks.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are the utility AD carries. Champions like Jhin, Ashe, or Varus have no way of escaping once you slow them with a Venom Cask, so you can easily go for 6-stack trades. In a similar fashion, AD carries like Kalista, Vayne, and Ezreal rely on their mobility to survive the laning phase, but you don’t have any significant skill shots for them to dodge. Also, Twitch obliterates Sivir since she has to guess your Contaminate [E] timing with her spell shield.
The bigger issue are the supports. Powerful initiators are a constant threat to Twitch players, so be wary of picks like Alistar, Rakan, Thresh, and Blitzcrank. Supports like Taric and Braum are also a pain to deal with since they can counter your ultimate.
Laning Phase And Early Game
First, you have to try and win the level 2 push. If the enemy duo goes for an all-in, you can retaliate and catch them off guard with the burst from Contaminta [E]. But unless that happens, don’t bother going for excessive trades.
Once you hit level 2, use your Venom Cask [W] to slow your enemies and set up your support to follow up. And even in the midst of trades, never stop farming. Twitch is a scaling AD carry, and your first few levels aren’t very strong enough, so you’ll need the gold from CS to transition into a smooth mid game.
Once you hit level 6 and get your first buy, you can start playing more aggressive. Constantly weave in and out of bushes to make your opponents guessing whether you’re going to enter stealth, and—when they lower their guard—go for an all-in with your Ambush [Q]. The great thing about Twitch is that you don’t have to make things happen only in the bottom lane. Once you get boots, you can use your camouflage to creep up on the enemy solo laners and surprise them with the AD carry gank.
While Twitch isn’t the best at sieging turrets, he’s the king of teamfights. That’s why you should look to start skirmishing around Dragon, Rift Herald, and jungle camps to make the most out of your pick. You always want to be stealthed at the start of every teamfight to make it harder for your enemies to pinpoint your location. And make sure to abuse choke points with your ultimate.
Another huge advantage of Ambush [Q] is that it allows you to circumvent the enemy frontline and go straight for the squishies. But be wary—this is a do-or-die play, so don’t force it if something can go wrong. Finally, be extra mindful of wards. If enemies see you entering stealth, they’ll save their powerful cooldowns for you, and this leads to a very, very dead rat.
Late game follows a similar narrative, but the stakes are ten times higher. Once again, look to start fights around neutral objectives and use the fog of war to blindside your opponents with an Ambush [Q]. A 6-item Twitch can melt the back line in seconds, but don’t get too trigger-happy.
Instead, wait for the right moment. Sometimes it’s even best to let your team start the fight without you just to make their carries lose track of you. After all, a couple of auto attacks is all you need to turn the tables. If you find yourself on the back foot, use your Venom Cask [W] to clear minion waves and discourage approaching enemies. Stealthing in plain sight is another way to buy time during sieges since your enemies will have to back off thinking you’re planning to engage. Just don’t overdo it—you need your Ambush [Q] off cooldown when an actual teamfight starts.
Finally, there’s nothing wrong with playing Twitch like a standard AD carry. The nature of his ultimate allows the Plague Rat to shred through tanks and hit the back line at the same time, so unless the enemy team is way ahead of you, you don’t need to go for any hero plays. In the end, everything comes down to your game sense and positioning.
Twitch is a marksman and an assassin. His ultimate makes him into a massive teamfighting threat while Ambush [Q] opens up countless playmaking possibilities. His lack of mobility might pose a problem to less experienced players, but as long as you keep your distance, you’ll become the very definition of a League of Legends hypercarry.
That’s it! Hopefully, this AD carry Twitch guide helps you climb the Solo Queue ladder, and see you on the Rift!