With the release of the 3.6 ‘Freljord’ patch on April 30th, the League treated to many updates, among them the new champion Lissandra.
Lissandra, let me tell you, is absolutely incredible. I haven’t had this much fun with a champion since Diana, and I played only Diana for about a month after she went live. I’d had my suspicions about Lissandra for a while, but I as soon as I heard her joke, I knew I was in love; the only other champion with a joke so bad is Diana.
Lissandra’s kit (very reminiscent of a WoW Frost Mage) features two stuns, a slow, a blink, and a manaless cast condition.
Let’s review her kit one piece at a time. I could copy and paste the data here to take up more room, or, I can and will just link you to the LoLWiki page for Lissandra, where all of the information is already beautifully formatted for you. First up – the passive:
Every 18 seconds – 1 second per ability that hits and slows / stuns a target, Lissandra’s next ability costs no mana. Immune to CDR.
This ability seems a little weak to me. Her mana costs certainly warrant it, but it’s just too erratic and long to be especially useful. A minor assistance.
Q (Ice Shard)
Her core damage spam.Sends out a bolt of ice in a small-mid range to slow the first target hit. If it happens to hit an enemy unit, the ice will shard off into many smaller pieces into a cone shape behind the original target. The shards deal the same damage, but lose the slow effect.
This ability is very useful for poking enemies hiding behind minions. Be careful not to push your lane accidentally during laning phase, as the AoE aspect makes this very easy to do. The flip side of this is that during late game, your wave clear potential is very strong because of this.
Solid damage, takes 331 AP to double the base damage at rank 5. With such a low cooldown, though, you can use this to really hit some damage. Use minions to your advantage if an enemy tries to flee behind their creeps. The range doubles after the first hit, allowing you to secure fleeing kills in some situations.
W (Ring of Frost)
Lissandra is one of the few champions in the game to feature an AoE stun. This is on a considerably low cooldown late game (6s w/ Rank 5 & full CDR), though it should be used sparingly early game (18s w/ Rank 1 & no CDR). Its AP ratio is slightly less than Liss’ Ice Shard, but still useful for dealing damage.
As with most stuns, two main cases for use present themselves: One being aggressively, to take down a fleeing target or to root them in place while a teammate (probably jungle) enters lane to help with the takedown. The other serving to help you escape enemy units and retreat to safety.
One helpful tactic for escaping is to pop E (Glacial Path) in the direction you want to run, use Ring of Frost to stun nearby enemies, then hit E again to blink out of the danger zone. I’ll cover her Glacial Path more in the next section.
Being an AoE stun, Lissandra is granted a third regular use for this ability. Much like Amumu’s or Sona’s ultimates, we can use Ring of Frost to lock down entire teams while our carries dish out damage, uninterrupted, for up to 1.5 seconds. This does necessitate putting Lissandra in harm’s way, so I recommend building her with some tanky items.
E (Glacial Path)
Glacial Path is an interesting ability, and took me quite some time to really get used to. It sends a claw (at 700 move speed) forward in chosen direction. Dealing damage as it goes, it can be reactivated to instantly move Lissandra to the claw’s location.
This ability is used best as an initiator. By clawing in the path of the enemy, Lissandra can blink right next to them, W for stun, Q for damage, and hopefully take home a kill. The ability is also quite effective as an escape, but it is easily shut down. A single silence, stun, or fear after the initial cast will cause her to be unable to recast for the blink, rendering the whole ability worthless. Use caution.
Also remember than you do not need to cast the second time. It can be used for safe damage at a range, though the cooldown is long enough to discourage this until late game with heavy CDR.
R (Frozen Tomb)
Lissandra’s ultimate has two functions, and the ability’s target determines which triggers. If cast on herself, Frozen Tomb acts as a Zhonya’s hourglass for 1.5 seconds, sparing her from any damage. If cast on an enemy, Frozen Tomb stuns the target for 1.5 seconds. In both cases, an AoE slow (20% move speed for 3 seconds) expands from the target to deal massive amounts of magic damage.
This ability is obviously a great boon during teamfights, and can completely turn battles by stunning an enemy carry and still managing to hit the entire team. In addition, it also gives Lissandra some pretty impressive 1v1 potential. Since the ability is on a relatively low cooldown for ults (130/105/80), she should be able to chain her slows and stuns to take out most mid laners with ease.
Lissandra is, in my mind, belongs in mid lane most of the time. She can still be very good support under some conditions. In both cases, build her with a little tanky.
Mid lane with Lissandra is very similar to mid lane with other AP caster champions. Grab some AP, poke with her Ice Shards when you can, and then Glacial Path in for the kill when the enemy gets low. Ring of Frost is great for preventing escapes or allowing your jungler to enter lane before the enemy leaves, and also to halt enemies while you escape.
I build her a little more tanky than your average AP caster. Rod of Ages, Rylai’s Cryastal Scepter, and Zhonya’s are all very common items. I usually build Zhonya’s and at least one of the other two. Rabadon’s isn’t a bad choice, either.
I was a little skeptical at first when I heard about Lissandra support. Sure, she had a lot of CC, but no heals and no shields. After trying this out, though, I am determined that if your ADC builds life steal and plays smart, Lissandra can be a devastating support. She works wonderfully with Vayne and other high attack speed champions.
Lissandra is currently underestimated, in my opinion. I think this is mostly due to her mediocre AP ratios. Why sacrifice damage for CC in the mid laner when the team could pick up CC in other areas? She is definitely situational, but I still believe that the extra CC and her ability to dominate 1v1 matchups are more of a benefit to the team as a whole than a few extra AP percentage points.
I say again – make sure to build her with a little tanky. Because her stuns are close range, and because her Glacial Path often brings her closer to enemies, she will take a lot of damage. Don’t let yourself get nuked.