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Qiyana poses in front of an explosion while welding her ring

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Qiyana champion guide: Collecting the elements

Mastering Qiyana will be tough, but you’re not alone

Riot Games

Qiyana storms her way onto the rift this patch, becoming League of Legends newest champion! Qiyana is the self proclaimed Empress of the Elements hailing from the jungles of Ixtai. Qiyana has been designed as a solo lane AD Assassin, and I’ll be teaching you how to play her as such. Let’s look at what this empress can do.

Abilities

Passive - Royal Privilege

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Royal Privilege is an on-target cooldown, meaning that it only goes on cooldown for the targets you’ve already hit with it. It has a separate cooldown for every enemy you hit.

Q - Elemental Wrath / Edge of Ixtal

Riot Games via Polygon

Elemental Wrath’s range can be up to double that of Edge of Ixtal. If, for example, the slash does not connect with a target, the elemental effect will go off at Edge of Ixtal’s max range, and travel the same distance again, effectively doubling the range of the ability.

W - Terrashape

Riot Games via Polygon

Terrashape resets the cooldown of both your Q and your passive. You should try to use this to your advantage to deal as much damage as possible.

It’s a good idea to always have an element stored. Having a stored element increases your attack speed and gives your basic attacks bonus damage. It also grants you out of combat movement speed when travelling near the stored element. Remember that this ability isn’t just an element reset; it has a dash. Use this to your advantage to cross over terrain, dodge skillshots, or to simply get closer to your target.

E - Audacity

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Audacity is a point-and-click dash that can make Elemental wrath / Edge of Ixtal a pseudo-point-and-click ability with how they interact together. This can be a strong combination with the river element and pretty much guarantees a stun and slow onto the target. You land closer to or further away from your target depending on your position relative to theirs when you cast Audacity. Think of this like Yasuo’s Sweeping Blade. If you’re closer to the target, you travel further past the target. This can allow for some really wacky stuff to happen, such as escaping a gank by passing over a wall if you stand super close to the target and cast Audacity towards the wall.

R - Supreme Display of Talent

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You should aim to push enemies into a wall with your ultimate for the stun and juicy extra damage. If you can’t reach a wall, try to push them into a better position for your team to kill them. This ult can make it difficult for the enemy team to force any objectives on the map due to the fear of you destroying their grouped up members with an ult-Q-W-Q combo. The stun provided when passing through river can allow you to lock down their whole team for a long time and can net you a team fight win easily.

Skill Max Order - Q>E>W

You should prioritize points into Q, as it is your main source for both damage as well as your only form of waveclear. As an assassin, you’ll want to be dealing as much damage as possible at all times, and you want more waveclear so you can spend less time farming and more time killing. Points into E lowers its base cooldown as well as increasing the damage by a ton. W is last because all you gain from points in it is increased out-of-combat movement speed when near the element type and a small bonus to the on-hit damage provided.

The bonuses from maxing E actually outweigh those of Q, but having the reset from W and being an AoE ability makes Q a bigger priority. It’s still entirely possible that some people try out E max first in some particular matchups though.

Runes

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Electrocute is the bread and butter keystone for almost all assassins. It gives you more burst damage with your combo and helps you in nuking down one target, which is everything that an assassin wants to do. Pick up Sudden Impact for additional lethality after both stealthing with bush Q, or when casting W or E, Eyeball Collection for more AD upon takedown, and Ravenous Hunter for some additional healing giving you more fighting power against tougher opponents.

Dip into the Precision tree and pick up Triumph and Coup De Grace. Triumph heals you upon takedown, which can keep you alive a tad longer in a skirmish and may end up saving your life and winning you the fight. Coup De Grace grants additional damage to targets at low health. This works well with wall element as it also deals damage to targets at lower health.

Sorcery with Absolute Focus and Manaflow Band, or Inspiration with Biscuit Delivery and Cosmic Insight can be good alternatives for your secondary tree.

Item Build

Starting Item

  • Corrupting Potion

First Back

  • Serrated Dirk
  • Boots of Speed

Core Build

  • Youmuu’s Ghostblade
  • Duskblade of Draktharr

Late-game Core

  • Edge of Night
  • Guardian Angel

Situational

  • Mortal Reminder
  • Black Cleaver
  • Maw of Malmortius

Boots

  • Mobility Boots

You will usually go for the typical AD assassin build with Qiyana, focusing on stacking lethality, increasing your damage to targets with lower armor. This is why your core items are Duskblade and Ghostblade. These two items give strong passive and active effects to aid you in play making while also providing tons of damage and cooldown reduction to aid you in picking off your targets.

Later into the game you’ll generally want some more defensive options, making Edge of Night and Guardian Angel good pick-ups. The former provides you with lethality, but its active gives you a spell shield. This can be crucial in blocking the opponents peeling or crowd control abilities long enough for you to burst down the high priority target you’re after. The latter gives damage and a bit of armor, but you usually get a Guardian Angel for its passive effect, as reviving after you nuke a carry can change the tide of a teamfight.

Against certain champions or team compositions, you may need more health or resistances, or maybe just a way to stop your opponents healing so much. These situational items can be purchased at any point in time, but usually not until after your core two items are completed. You should generally only get one situational item though as getting too many can cause you to deal a lot less damage, which is counterproductive as an assassin.

Qiyana can be a bruiser as well, if you focus more on team fighting than you do assassinating. If you want to try that out, grab yourself a Trinity Force, Sterak’s Gage, Ninja Tabi or Mercury Treads, Death’s Dance, and Guardian Angel as your core items. This build will make you a lot more tanky and durable in a full on teamfight and allow you to act as a pseudo-frontline for your team. We’re likely to see this build mostly on top lane Qiyana, but I believe it’s just as strong if not stronger than the assassin build in some cases.

Synergies

  • Yuumi
  • Yasuo
  • Gnar
  • Vayne
  • Akali

Champions who can aid Qiyana in skirmishing, or make good use of her ultimate’s knock back effect will be strong when paired with her. If you have a Qiyana you can trust, consider playing one of these champions to overwhelm the enemy team.

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Counters

  • Alistair
  • Leona
  • Malzahar
  • Lissandra
  • Vladimir

Targets that can lock down Qiyana and stop her from making plays are a pretty good way to counter her. Either pick someone with CC and focus her, or be tanky enough to not die to her.

Riot Games via Polygon

Conclusion

Qiyana is an AD assassin who controls the elements, augmenting her abilities based on what elements are involved. This can make for some very interesting plays and increases her skill ceiling to heights similar to Akali or Irelia. If you want a champion who is easy to pick up in a few games but could take thousands to master, then Qiyana could be the champion for you.