Join me for a detailed guide on how to duel with the best and come out on top!
META (NOT EVEN ONCE)
Fiora is by far the most diverse champion I’ve found. Top, mid, bot, jungle – she can go anywhere and I’ve included mini-guides for each position!
Ironically her weakest lane, Fiora can still go toe to toe with most bruisers and win early engages. You’re on a timetable here, meaning your power will start to taper off as most fighters will destroy you past level nine. Luckily for you, the damage you can deal with a simple Lunge -> Burst of Speed -> Lunge is incredible early on! Abuse it when your enemy still lacks the power to retaliate. Make sure you punish your enemy constantly after levels 2-3, that’s when laning control is firmly in your hands.
Arguably your most powerful tool on top lane is Burst of Speed, so use it wisely. It has a very short three-second duration, which can be further cut by stuns. Make sure you know your lane match-up so you know when to use it. Say you’re laning against a Riven and she starts her combo. Should you commit with Burst of Speed? With a stun and a knockback, that’s a big no-no. Use it after those cooldowns are blown and you can easily return just as much damage. It’s your bread and butter skill and without it you are a sitting duck for enemy engages. Remember that Burst of Speed provides an incredible movement speed buff, meaning you can chase or escape 1v1 situations without much trouble. Feeling like Darius will win the fight? Hit him 3 times with E and run like hell! You’ll be surprised how much faster Fiora is than most top lane champions! (don’t look at Jayce don’t look at Jayce ._.)
Riposte is a one-point wonder in the early game, giving you 15 Attack Damage right off the bat. Makes last hitting a breeze and further improves on your Burst of Speed DPS. Remember that it blocks all kinds of fancy on-hits, such as Gangplank’s Parrley, Garen’s Decisive Strike and the like. It will not negate bonus damage from abilities such as Hiten Style, but it will completely stop the bonus damage from passives, such as Riven’s Runic Blade. It helps you counter enemy harass and does decent magic damage.
Most players use Blade Waltz to finish off enemies due to the small dash range, but it has a lot of subtle uses as well. For one thing, it works with your Burst of Speed. If you’re low on health and, for example, Darius hooks you, a quick E -> R combo, followed by running for your life is a good escape choice. It’s also instant and will make you invulnerable, meaning it can swiftly turn fights in your favour. Quick fingers will ensure you dodge skills such as Riven’s Wind Slash, Darius’s Dunk, Choggy’s Rupture, etc. It adds a few precious seconds to your life when you’re tower diving or are being dived and that is sometimes enough to turn the tides in a bad situation.
When playing on the top lane, always tailor your tactics to the enemy you’re facing. Are you against a strong poker such as Nidalee or Jayce? Max Lunge and constantly be aggressive! Playing against a dangerous fighter, such as Darius or Jarvan? Level up Burst of Speed and fight back! I would almost never suggest maxing Riposte as the damage increase after level one is only five points. Most trades on top lane are short and you want to be as powerful as can be when they occur. That being said, however, it can be a decent choice against heavy pokers if you’re a more defensive player by nature.
Constant fencing means you have to be healthy for each new battle. Luckily Fiora’s passive is a gem, albeit often an underestimated one. Watch the duration above your skill menu and you will be able to have the regeneration constantly up by smacking an innocent creep with your sword (or ruler). If you like experimenting and are willing to change your playstyle, go ahead and give Lifesteal Quintessences a chance. I’ve found them to be extremely effective with an early Doran’s Blade, as you can quickly heal off of minions with a Burst of Speed.
The biggest threat on top lane often comes from the jungle and mid lane. Since Fiora lacks any sure-fire ways of escaping, you’ll most likely rely on good ward coverage and proper warnings from your team-mates. Constantly be on the lookout for enemies trying to smite you for gold. An early death can set you back severely for the rest of the match. Make an effort to remind yourself to buy 2-3 wards each time you go back to the fountain. Don’t just place them near your lane or in the brush- if mid lane is lacking wards, walk over there and place one behind the blue buff wall. It prevents jungle invades and makes your lane safe for the next three minutes!
Fiora is a hilarious counter to both Garen and Wukong, as she can block their most powerful nukes with a bit of practice. Note that she does wonders against Gangplank, should you ever face him. She can handily beat Darius, something most players haven’t really tried. Shen is a piece of cake, provided you don’t get baited into taking unnecessary creep aggro. With the recent meta swing, it’s worth mentioning that you can negate Katarina’s Death Lotus with Blade Waltz, and generally bully her in lane. Rumble can be troublesome if he makes an effort to kite you around, but if he fails to slow you, Burst of Speed will quickly demolish his health pool. Cho’Gath becomes easy prey after a few levels. Just remember to never let Feral Screams go unpunished- that’s his sure way of pushing you out of lane, but after the silence wears off he’s open to counter-harass. As mentioned, Nidalee and Jayce are easy pickings. You can even block Nidalee’s Takedown! And although it would seem that Lee Sin will easily beat her, the reality is you’re in a much better spot.
Although Fiora can go toe to toe with most bruisers, you should know when the matchup is not in your favour. Jax is the most obvious counter with his ability to evade all the damage from Burst of Speed. Kha’Zix’s Void Assault will cancel Blade Waltz and he can easily poke Fiora down in lane. Although I mentioned handy tips for fighting Riven, this matchup can easily be decided by junglers, something the bunny-costumed exile is far more capable of dealing with. Irelia will destroy you after level nine, but she can be tossed around in the early game. Elise can both stop Blade Waltz with Rappel, trade handily in Spider Form, and poke constantly with her Neurotoxin. Renekton is often a stalemate match-up and things can go either way. If you manage to block his Ruthless Predator damage, go nuts! Malphite will give you a world of trouble, but he does that to most people. Focus on sustain and farming here; fights will definitely go in his favour. Pantheon will pretty much force you to play defensively. Call for early ganks and you’ll dominate him later on. Rengar is an interesting opponent- if you’re quick on your toes you can block Savagery and punish his foolish engage. Otherwise prepare for a very tough lane. If you’re paired against Yorick, feel free to hit the almighty leave button.
During the first few levels you need to gain a general sense of how your opponent plays. Most will flat-out waste valuable spells on Riposte, but clever players can bait you easily; either by faking engages or resetting their auto attacks with on-hit skills. This is especially important in top lane, where champions quickly snowball off one another if left unchecked. You simply can’t afford to be losing early exchanges as you’re a hard carry with “squishy” written all over you. Always play passively and fight in your own creep wave if you’re at a disadvantage: minion aggro + four stacks of Duelist can turn the tide, even if these factors remain unnoticed.
This is where Fiora truly shines. Thanks to an incredible early physical burst, you can take down or force a lot of squishy casters our of the lane. In most cases you’ll be better off maxing Lunge first. A shorter cooldown and higher burst means you’ll have more opportunities to inflict serious damage. Since it can be cast twice, you can use the first activation to dodge a lot of obvious skillshots – Zyra’s snare, Anivia’s sluggish stun, Ahri‘s charm and others. Against fighters such as Diana you’ll want to prioritize Burst of Speed again.
The reason Fiora is such an amazing mid champion lies mostly in the fact that she’s a very unorthodox pick. People generally don’t expect her or think that she belongs in the top lane. If they come unprepared (i.e no armor runes) you can force a third-minute Flash or even kill them, which is huge. Most encounters here are only hard during the first few levels, when you simply lack the skills to harass with. With standard Attack Damage Quintessences and Riposte, you’re looking at close to 90 AD (!) at level one. Of course, this lane also comes with its easy and hard match-ups.
Champions who cannot reliably escape, such as Ryze, Kassadin (pre-6), Gragas, Evelynn, Malzahar etc., are begging to be sniped early. Riposte laughs in the face of Akali- you can easily bait her into attacking you once you’re marked for bonus damage. Some champions, such as Fizz and Katarina, rely on doing their combo and hopping back out to safety; however you can quickly catch up with Lunge and destroy them. The potential for dominance becomes even stronger once you have Blade Waltz, which can guarantee a dodged spell or two in a fight. In the AD section we have Talon and Zed, both of whom cannot hope to compete with your damage output. As a sweet bonus, you can mess up Zed’s ult hardcore.
Things, however, can go wrong fast for Fiora in mid lane. She has trouble dealing with blue-buff pushing champions, such as Syndra, Zyra, Orianna, and others. Make sure you and your jungler keep solid map control so you can intercept them when they come to kill the golem. Aside from those, Fiora can be beaten 1v1 by strong CC and spammable nukes. One ugly counter is Swain, whose plethora of ways to deny melee champions will make your day a nightmare. At best, you can engage with the first use of Lunge and retreat from Nevermove with the other. We mentioned Ryze as easy to beat, but he tends to get a lot of help from junglers due to his reliable snare. Anivia, Ahri, Morgana, Zyra and Lux can quickly halt your assault with CC abilities fired from melee range. Annie will rock your life bar if you leave her unharmed before she hits level six. LeBlanc is a glass cannon- if cannons shot nuclear missiles, wrapped with explosives. Take her down before she does the same to you. Lastly Cassiopeia is entirely a skill match-up, but even then a melee Miasma opens you to an endless barrage of Twin Fangs, and her chasing potential is far better.
Fiora is a weak roamer, but somewhat potent with a red buff. If you happen to get your lovely French woman’s hands on one, feel free to stray from the mid lane for awhile. Otherwise, denying the enemy and farming are top priority. If you finish a Hexdrinker and Vampiric Scepter in due course, there’s very little your enemy will be able to do to stop you. You’re completely blue-buff unreliant so feel free to let your jungler have that. If your enemy leaves the lane (which they will at some point), finish the creep wave and carve that tower into a statue of Teemo! Burst of Speed makes you a pushing machine.
Finally, we come to the lane AD carries adore! This is where Riposte truly shines and I recommend maxing it almost always. Playing Fiora against a heavy right clicker takes a lot of finesse. Most enemies will poke you constantly with auto attacks and those buggers are extremely quick! Luckily for us, Riposte returns even more damage. With practice comes perfect timing and some attacks aren’t even hard to block! Take Draven and his Spinning Axe for example: the attack is slow and telegraphed, and using W will negate all but the DoT damage from his passive. You can completely ignore Vayne’s Tumble, Sivir’s Ricochet, Ezreal’s Mystic Shot and once in a lifetime- Caitlyn’s Headshot!
I bet you’ll be surprised how well Fiora can hold her own here, despite being a melee champion. Duelist and Riposte make for a ton of survivability from harass. Often times you’ll assume a position from where you can completely zone out most AD carries. All it takes is for you to survive the first few levels with minimal damage taken and starting with Cloth Armor and five Health Pots goes a long way towards achieving that. Fiora’s ludicrous damage output is hindered only by her lack of CC. So fill that gap in your arsenal and get yourself an aggressive support! The list here is standard, but I will mention Janna as a personal favourite; not only can she help with chasing, but at level six she can turn Blade Waltz into Smite for champions. Sona is also a solid pick, as she can counter-harass with great success.
Things that can ruin your day are short-ranged skills such as Graves’s Buckshot and Sona’s Power Chords, as well as hard CC that will be laughably easy to land in your situation, such as stuns from Leona and Taric, and Blitzcrank’s Powerfist. Varus and Caitlyn will poke you to no end, and a burst combo might scare the living bejeezus out of ‘ya. In all-in engages you need to quickly Cleanse out of any disables and counter-engage their carry. This may sometimes be suicidal, so save one of your Lunges for an eventual escape.
There are tools to help make bottom lane a less painful experience. I mentioned Cleanse, as it’s my number one preferred Summoner Spell on Fiora. Additionally, getting either Lifesteal or Armor Quintessences ups your survivability significantly. Keep in mind that you likely won’t be able to hit much if you’re getting harassed out of lane, so the former I would recommend to people more accustomed to playing Fiora.
Bottom lane is a race against the enemy carry to get your core items rolling, whether by acquiring a CS advantage or denying/killing them. In any case, the most comfortable pick for laning dominance is definitely a Bloodthirster. Don’t just blindly pick it, though; if you’re stomping your opponent, an Infinity Edge will be far more beneficial. Getting a few Doran Blades or a Ninja Tabi is a solid choice if you’re struggling to remain in lane.
Playing Fiora on the bottom lane boils down to taking as little harass as possible and engaging with your support. Whenever your Riposte is on cooldown, duck into a bush or stay a little to the side. Sometimes missing out on a creep or two to regain your abilities is a worthy sacrifice. Aside from Vayne and her stealth, ranged carries are helpless against Blade Waltz. It really does turn the table of combat once levelled, since very few ADs have ultimates that can’t be dodged by it.
This is perhaps where Fiora is weakest. Sure, she can slaughter neutral camps fairly easily due to her amazing damage and Riposte blocking large minion attacks. But as mentioned, she is a hard carry and in most cases you’ll be really far behind on gold here. If you do jungle with her, I suggest focusing on farming for the most part as you’re a terrible ganker and you need your items quick. At level one you should start with Riposte. Afterwards, Burst of Speed takes priority, with Riposte being levelled second. Put one point in Lunge at level three-four if an enemy is pushing like crazy and you’re confident you can gank.
Early game you’re extremely susceptible to being counter-jungled. Not because you lose a lot of health fighting neutrals; most top tier junglers will simply demolish you in a 1v1. Once you get Blade Waltz things will brighten up a bit- you have your biggest nuke to protect yourself in the jungle, as well as a handy ganking tool. Again, always keep an eye on your red buff, even ward the brush near it if you can. You’re completely reliant on it to be of any threat to the other lanes.
I recommend starting at the Blue golem buff. Do your standard route- wolves, golem with Smite, wraiths and then coming back to the wolf camp. From here you can take your red buff and double golems and recall, or gank after you get your slow on-hit.
Another option is to take Wraiths and Red Buff first, or even counter-jungle the enemy with your team and take theirs. Again, Fiora is really bad at ganking and is extremely item-dependant, which is why I don’t recommend jungling to begin with. If you have confidence microing between auto attacks, however, it can sometimes work. Make sure to move in between each hit so you’re always on top of your enemy and not lagging behind him. This is because you want to maximize the number of hits you can get off after each Lunge. Once you get Burst of Speed you can come in from behind and use that instead, only dashing once they try to get away.
Fiora isn’t really fond of the new Spirit items, so you’re best off getting a Lantern. It’s a bit on the forgotten side, but it will help you clear camps exceptionally quick. Its greatest strength is in securing dragon, due to Burst of Speed and being able to block its attacks with Riposte. This is where Fiora actually shines as a jungler- she can quickly secure a global gold advantage for her team. Just make sure you have vision wards in the area!
Aftewards, priority is once again dealing damage, getting tenacity and having at least one strong defensive item. As a jungler you can afford to build tankier, as you’ll likely have another carry of some kind. You can go for a Frozen Mallet and give the red buffs to your ranged AD. Otherwise standard defensive options to counter the enemy team are all acceptable, with a special mention going to the Maw of Malmortius.
Overall Fiora is a sub-par jungler, with the only exception being her ability to secure Dragon safely. She can even solo Baron with a proper gold advantage, but you likely won’t get to that ^.^ . You won’t have problems killing neutral camps, but champions are another story. It’s best to leave this to someone who can be more of a threat in the early game and isn’t so much in need of gold. However, if you’re new to Fiora and you want to get a good grip on her abilities, then this is a good place to start.
Item Choices & Gameplay:
Fiora has a very interesting power curve- she starts off really strong, falls off hard in the midgame and then once again becomes amazing, when she has five-to-six items. Being the melee carry she is, you might find yourself on the receiving end of some serious pain. To alleviate that you’ll first and foremost need ample amounts of CC reduction or removal; therefore, I consider Mercurial Scimitar to be a core late game item. Remember it will get rid of Exhaust and Suppression AND give you a movement speed buff! Mercury Treads are by far the best boots on Fiora- enchant them with Furor, which scales with the MS boost from Burst of Speed!
Fiora needs items that just deal damage outright. As such, an Infinity Edge, Bloodthirster and Last Whisper are all amazing picks in almost any case. Black Cleaver can be considered, but you likely won’t have time to stack the debuff against squishy targets. Also, LW will raise the damage of Blade Waltz significantly. An early Avarice Blade for extended farming can turn into a Ghostblade later on, which does wonders when coupled with a heavy AD item. Blade of the Ruined King + Riposte = tank shredding extraordinaire and the active is amazing for chasing people and burst healing! Defensive choices vary- a Frozen Mallet gives a lot of health and a slow that Fiora desperately needs, while a Maw or an Omen can be built to counter specific opponents on the enemy team. For the good ‘ol tryhards there’s always the option of buying a Warmog’s. I strongly recommend getting a Guardian Angel for the late game- with that much damage and Life Steal, having a second shot in teamfights makes a huge impact.
As much as I would like to recommend Ravenous Hydra for its AoE damage and Life Steal, it’s just lacklustre on a hard carry, in my opinion. You need raw damage and Tenacity fast, so spending 3600 gold on a small cleave and inferior stats is something to frown upon. It is a solid candidate for the fifth or sixth item slot if the enemy lacks CC and you can afford to bypass the Mercurial Scimitar.
Make sure you always move with your team in the late game, as you lack any escape if caught. If the enemy lacks a powerful engage you can clear waves on mid and bottom lane, so you can be near Dragon and still keep up with farm.
Arguably the greatest advantage you hold over other carries when picking Fiora is that you have much more freedom when it comes to picking a target. With three dashes and a disengage you can handily dispatch weak casters and ranged champions in general. Fiora requires patience and precision. Jumping into the fray with your team will often lead to you getting blown up- you have so much damage at your disposal, so why risk getting focused down? Waiting as little as four-five seconds will make most enemies waste their disables, giving you free reign over the enemy squishies. Just remember that even if you use Blade Waltz when no one is hitting you, it still hurts like a truck. It can easily chip off 800-900 HP from a carry in a teamfight, so it makes for a handy burst tool. Of course, its most important use is to ensure you live longer in teamfights; if the opposing team is smart and focuses you properly, then hitting Blade Waltz before that could be disastrous.
Carry Potential & Why you should play Fiora:
Fiora can sometimes feel lacking, even handicapped. With a small health pool and melee range she has a lot of trouble carrying games against smart players. Keep in mind, however, that in return you gain what is arguably the best steroid and an invulnerability ultimate that deals massive damage. She’s a risky pick, one that takes a good understanding of the game to use properly. The thing that will likely convince you to at least try her is that she has no defined skill cap. Whereas playing Graves is mostly an automated process, Fiora is always dynamic; her Riposte needs to be timed perfectly, and Blade Waltz is an incredible fight-turner.
So melee carry is a weak role? No! But it’s definitely a lot harder to pull off. You’ll be far from safe in teamfights and even laning can be a nightmare! But it’s a role that deserves a spotlight for being unique and very rewarding if successful. Riot can do a lot to help out such champions and builds; carrying with melee is immensely satisfying in DotA and I hope we see more of it in Season 3. For the rest who enjoy Fiora or who have enjoyed this guide (or both!) – I’ll see you in future guides on my ADvanced Strategy series!
Q: Who are you?
I’m an avid player from EU West who’s been in the League since Season 1. My highest Elo is 1927 but I mostly play premade matches. In all teams that I’ve joined for various tournaments I’ve taken the role of an AD carry. I’ve played every champion in this category extensively, although special credit must go out to Vayne who is my personal favourite.
Q: Who is this guide for?
Mostly players who have decided to delve deeper into the role of AD carry.
Q: What can I find in it?
An overview of each AD Carry, its strengths and weaknesses, both in lane and in teamfights, as well as tips for synergizing with certain support champions. There are short lists of counters and allies, as well as more detailed explanations as to why that is the case.
Q: Should I completely agree with all your choices for counterpicks and good allies?
Of course not! I’ve based my opinion around general advice. Of course, players can always pull off something amazing that I haven’t mentioned, but this guide is aimed at providing the most solid and safe choices.
ADvanced Strategy Series:
LoLWiki, for the champion portraits and the jungle overview image
Mangadrawing , for the awesome Fiora portrait. Check it out, it’s a pretty neat website. =)
Good luck on the Fields of Justice!