IntroductionEvaine LeBlanc, The Deceiver, is a single target burst mage who specializes in instantly nuking one target and then leaving the fight---at least, that is what most people think and how most people play her. When compared with any other mage or caster, LeBlanc is very standard. She has a single target damage spell with a small silence, an AOE damage spell, and a single target slow/snare. LeBlanc's defining factor is her ultimate which is amazingly simple to understand, yet hard to effectively use: The previous spell you cast will be repeated with extra damage. This one skill allows LeBlanc to become whatever she needs to be for the specific situations she needs to react to. Need to burst a champion to kill? Repeat your Sigil spell (q). Need to quickly chase an enemy or run from them? Repeat your Distortion spell (w). Trying to keep a hard to kill champion in one spot? Repeat your Chaining spell (e).
This malleability, combined with her ultimate's very low cooldown, allows LeBlanc to also play the role opposite of a burst caster: Magic DPS with good (although limited) utility. This guide will take you through both transitory stages that LeBlanc experiences when played on Summoner's Rift: Early game burst, and late game DPS.
THIS GUIDE IS CURRENTLY BEING EDITEDCheck back later to see what's new. Everything ABOVE this chapter is the most current and up-to-date part of the guide.
MasteriesThe masteries you should take on LeBlanc are the utility-based masteries, 9/0/21 (refer above). Grabbing both cooldowns in offense and utility is important to reach 40% cooldown. You could alternatively go straight down the offense tree and take out AP runes for cooldowns, but the net-gain on AP is extremely small, only about 30 extra AP at the end of the game. Using those points instead for gold and Spell Vamp much greater helps your early to mid game, where you are most strong and have greatest map presence. The early starting gold also allows you to grab both a Doran's Ring and a health pot, making your pre-level 6 laning strength extremely good.
Runesx9 Greater Mark of Insight (magic penetration)
x9 Greater Seal of Force (ability power per level)
x5 Greater Glyph of Celerity (cooldown per level)
x5 Greater Glyph of Force (ability power per level)
x2 Greater Quintessence of Force (ability power per level)
x1 Greater Quintessence of Insight (magic penetration)
This rune set-up gives you 10 magic penetration, 45 ability power at level 18 (which is 62 ability power with a Rabadon's and your masteries), and 5% cooldown.
The 10 magic penetration combines with your Sorcerer's Shoes of 20 magic penetration. Every champion in the game starts with 30 Magic Resistance and most of all carries (which are your prime targets) STAY at 30 Magic Resistance the whole game unless they buy MR items (or have MR runes). Your magic penetration runes plus your Sorcerer's Shoes take their resistance down to literally zero so you are always dealing full damage to the enemy's most squishiest targets. If the enemy is mostly tanky OR if you notice that the enemy carries are using Magic Resistance glyphs, buy a Haunting Guise early in the game for an extra flat 20 magic penetration to keep the enemy's Magic Resistance as close to zero as possible. Remember that upgrading the Exhaust spell also gives 10 extra magic penetration, totaling up to 60 magic penetration early game.
The 25 extra Ability Power that this build gives you at level 18 adds up to 62 Ability Power with your masteries when you buy your Rabadon's Deathcap. This is a very significant damage increment that will push you over the 700 Ability Power mark when you have all your items end game (with blue elixer), making your Deathfire's Grasp deal 54.5% of it's target's current health in damage.
5% cooldown might not seem like a lot, but it's all you need in order to hit the 40% cooldown mark (which is very important). With the Deathfire's Grasp, your masteries, and these runes, you will be able to hit 30% cooldown. From there, you need to always be requesting the blue buff (Crest of the Ancient Golem) from your team in order to get the extra cooldown you need to reach 40%, OR if you cannot get blue buff at that moment, it is very easy to spend 250 gold to buy a Blue Elixer from the shop. The Blue Elixer gives you exactly 10% cooldown reduction, which is all you need in order to hit 40%.
Flash is a given. The ability to instantly get in range of an enemy or out of range of an enemy is so vital to have. You can use flash to jump walls, to chase, to leave AOE spells, to juke enemies, and so much more. Combining Flash with Distortion lets you cover more ground than any champion can muster in less than a second. Get good with Flash and always bring it, there's no reason not to.
Exhaust has two main uses that contribute so much to your killing power and survivability. When you upgrade exhaust, it lowers the target's Magic Resistance by 10, basically negating a good deal of extra MR the enemy carries may have on them. It also keeps the enemy close to you, allowing your skills time to cool down. Later in the game, the enemy AD carries are typically very hard to 1v1 if you can't kill them one shot, since your root and silence doesn't stop them from dealing damage. Exhaust lowers their damage output, ensuring you survive long enough to kill them.
You have 4 other good choices for LeBlanc: Ghost, Cleanse, Surge, and Ignite. Ghost is very good post-level 6, allowing you to run in between lanes and in the enemy jungle, ganking before the enemy can call MIA. Cleanse is good because of your passive. When you take large damage, you stealth for a short time. If you happen to be CC'd, you can easily Cleanse and Distortion or Flash out of danger. Surge, along with the upgrade and a Rabadon's Deathcap, gives you 100 extra ability power, greatly increasing your killing power and giving your Deathfire's Grasp 3.5% more damage based on the enemy's health. Ignite is very strong early game to secure kills and to counter enemy champions with high lifesteal or regeneration, like Mundo.
I recommend Flash and Exhaust over every other summoner spell, but these 4 are also good to take.
Passive: Mirror Image
When LeBlanc is brought below 40% health, she instantly becomes stealthed for half a second. When the stealth fades, she creates a Mirror Image that deals no damage and lasts for up to 8 seconds. This can only occur once per minute.
While many people may say this passive is silly or blatantly useless, I have found many situations where it has saved my life, earned me a kill, or wasted a good deal of the enemy team's crowd control spells. The most significant and useful place I have put this passive to good use is pre-level 6 laning phase. When harassing your opponent in the lane, some people decide that being aggressive against LeBlanc at the same time she attempts to damage them is a good strategy (and, typically, they are right). When judging my damage against an enemy who fights me when I harass, I can predict when it will take two cycles of my spells (basically, two casts of my Sigil) to kill them. Against auto attackers like Ezreals or Caitlyns, being stealthed for half a second is all the time you need to get your Q back off of cooldown and kill them with it, even as early as level 2 or 3.
Since you can move your mirror image around with the ALT key on your keyboard, it can be useful in tricking the enemy into wasting crowd control or damaging spells on it. Other uses include blocking Caitlyn's ultimate, checking bushes, and soaking up tower or minion damage.
Q: Sigil of Silence
LeBlanc projects an orb towards her target, dealing 70 / 110 / 150 / 190 / 230 (+60% of ability power) magic damage and marking the target for 3.5 seconds. If the target takes damage from one of Leblanc's abilities, the mark will trigger, dealing 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 / 100 (+30% of ability power) magic damage and silencing the target for 2 seconds.
Cooldown 6seconds 3.6 Seconds at 40% Cooldown
Cost 70 / 75 / 80 / 85 / 90mana
Your main harassment tool early game, and your standard opener when attacking an enemy, the Sigil of Silence is definitely LeBlanc's main spell. When damage is your goal, this spell is always what you want to use to start anything. Combined with Distortion, you harass early very easily OR if you are having trouble damaging your opponent early you can use it to harass safely at the cost of more mana (Distortion close to the enemy, use Sigil, recast Distortion to get out of range quickly). Sigil combined with your ultimate Mimic will give you your strongest burst damage move. Your Sigil can also be combined with your Chains to silence, slow, and snare an unsuspecting enemy about to walk into your bush before you use another cycle of spells on them. Remember that your Sigil will not do it's full damage unless you hit the enemy with another spell (just make sure not to waste all of your mana early game before you hit level 6).
LeBlanc rapidly moves to a target location, dealing 85 / 125 / 165 / 205 / 245 (+60% of ability power) magic damage to nearby units. In the following 3 seconds, she can activate Distortion again to return to her starting location.
Cooldown 20 / 18 / 16 / 14 / 12seconds 7.2 Seconds at level 5/40% Cooldown
Cost 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120mana
Distortion has loads of uses. When harassing an enemy in lane, use Distortion to ignite your Sigil and deal more damage. If your lane is hard, use your Distortion to first get in range of the enemy, then use Sigil to damage them, and then recast Distortion to quickly get back out of range. At level 6, when you get Mimic, you can use your ultimate with Distortion to quickly escape ganks or to quickly chase opponents (and then using Sigil to kill or your Chains to slow them down enough to set-up a kill). Distortion can be used to check bushes or Dragon or Baron. When you hit level 11, your ultimate is typically strong enough to allow you to Distortion a minion wave and then Mimic to kill every minion and net you a lot of gold (also takes out jungle minions fast).
Distortion also has a great usefulness with the summoner spells Ghost and Flash, such as chasing down weak enemies to kill them. Use Distortion towards an enemy to help close the gap and to set your return point far behind you. Use Flash or Ghost afterward to get close enough to the enemy to cycle Sigil and Mimic to kill. Recast Distortion to safely return to your starting position a good screen and a half back. This technique can also be used to juke enemies. Ghost and Distortion away from your pursuer. After they commit to chasing you, turn a corner or enter a bush and reactivate Distortion and run the opposite direction.
E: Ethereal Chains
LeBlanc flings illusionary chains towards a target location. If it hits an enemy unit, it will deal 40 / 65 / 90 / 115 / 140 (+50% of ability power) initial magic damage and slow their movement speed by 25%. If the target remains shackled for 2 seconds, the target takes additional 40 / 65 / 90 / 115 / 140 (+50% of ability power) magic damage and is unable to move.
Cooldown 10seconds 6 Seconds at 40% Cooldown
Ethereal Chains is a utility spell; It's main use comes from either slowing and snaring your enemy to hold them in place to kill them, or to ignite your Sigil so that it can deal full damage. This spell has slightly farther range than it appears to have, and can be used to check bushes or to help zone enemies like Annie. Get your enemy Annie in lane to try to attack you, and throw your Chains at her to slow her. For whatever reason, almost every time an enemy gets hit by Ethereal Chains, they feel the need to start backing up. When previously said Annie get snared by this skill, a quick Sigil, Mimic, Distortion is a great damage dealer. With someone like Annie though, backing off might be better than getting any closer, unless you can pull off a silence without getting yourself stunned.
Against a strong laner, where you have to use Distortion to close the gap and then Sigil to deal damage, Ethereal Chains can be used to ignite the Sigil before you recast Distortion to get out of range (be careful with your mana early game though). This tactic can also be used later game when you have good burst damage to do things like hop over a wall with Distortion, Sigil/Mimic/Chains to burst an enemy, and then Distortion back to safety. Don't forget that Ethereal Chains can be used to save your teammates if they are being chased by the enemy.
People seriously bash this skill for having low damage---but the point of the skill itself isn't to damage, it's to control. Never skip this skill to max out your Sigil or Distortion spells first. ALWAYS get a point in this skill before level 6, its utility will earn you kills and save your life many times. It may be your hardest skill to learn, but get good with Ethereal Chains---it's very important that you do.
The maximum length of Ethereal Chains is about one and a half lengths of the cast distance, which is a bit shorter than your sight range.
LeBlanc can cast the previous spell she cast. The mimicked spell deals 10% / 25% / 40% increased damage.
Cooldown 40 / 32 / 24seconds 14.4 Seconds at level 3/40% Cooldown
Cost 100 / 50 / 0mana
Mimic is what makes LeBlanc who she is and allows her to perform offense or defense with this skill depending on what she needs. Mimicking Sigil will burst enemies hard. Mimicking Distortion will allow you to chase or escape quickly. Using Mimic with Ethereal Chains can allow you to snare an enemy for 4 seconds when he's hard to kill, or to snare 2 enemies when you're trying to help a teammate escape. The uses for this skill are wide and varied. Practice is really the only thing that gets you comfortable with using this spell in it many different ways. Just remember it only Mimics the spell you cast before it.
The Idea Behind This Item Build
In watching many different playstyles with LeBlanc, from both myself and others I've fought with and against, I've noticed two very important transitions with the character LeBlanc that happen regardless of who is playing her. Early game, LeBlanc is very mana hungry with a relatively high costing ultimate and spells that need to be chained together to be effective. However, she is also an extremely powerful 1-2-3 mage who can drop most any champion to dead with 3 spells. Later in the game, she loses the instant-kill potency she once had and needs a little more than one cycle of her spells in order to score kills.
Most LeBlanc players see only ONE of these two roles that is forced onto LeBlanc, and they try to play her that way. Those who notice her insane burst early game attempt to further increase her power by rushing high AP items and then stacking it. The problem they run into is that they never seem to have mana to do anything with. After one or two fights, they're forced to go home and regenerate their mana, leaving them out of another fight that could happen on the field and more importantly forcing them to stop farming (not like they could farm without any mana anyway). Later in the game, they can't Q/R/W enemies to dead instantly like they could before, and they lack the cooldowns to keep up with the attack. They also missed out on farm early game, so unless they scored many kills earlier they will be fairly behind.
Those players who build LeBlanc to be most effective late game get lots of mana and regeneration early (by building a Tear of the Goddess or getting a Rod of Ages for the higher mana pool) and rely on her base damages to still be able to burst enemies to dead without AP. This works, but only when you're fighting stupid carries on the enemy team. Against a mainly tanky-DPS team or smart carries, they will have too much magic resist and health to kill instantly and LeBlanc will not have enough survivability together with damage to prolong an attack to kill the enemy, as she will most likely die first. Should you get to late game with this build, it's fairly effective, but the trade-off of a weak early game (where LeBlanc is mainly an early game champion) is too great for this to be completely cost-effective.
And why do you need a large mana pool, or heavy mana regeneration late game anyway? LeBlanc's ultimate costs zero mana at level 3.
This build tries to maximize both of LeBlanc's habits on Summoner's Rift. By buying a Chalice of Harmony as your first item, you cover the high cost of your 100 mana ultimate and other spells early game, letting you focus on LeBlanc's early game one-combo strength by going straight AP. You have high burst early game, allowing you kill, and also high mana regen, allowing you to farm. After level 16, your ultimate doesn't cost mana anymore, so you can cut out the Chalice of Harmony and focus on what you need late game for cooldowns and constant attacking. Survivability is a must if you stay near the fight for a while, which is why you get a Rylai's for the health and slow, and Zhonya's for the immediate immortality. Finally, the last bit of magic penetration for hurting tanks or a strong carry late game is your final option for items, normally the abyssal scepter.
By following this item build, you cover and amplify all of LeBlanc's strengths in both phases of a match. Early game burst, and late game DPS.
The Meki Pendant and Health Potions are a very strong way to start a match as LeBlanc. Early game, LeBlanc is very mana hungry and needs the high regen that the Meki Pendant gives her. Getting too high regen with something like a Mana Manipulator, or sacrificing mana regen for ability power like with a Doran's Ring, is a bad idea with LeBlanc because you will have no way to heal yourself. LeBlanc is also strong enough to typically kill an enemy from 50/75% health at level 6, so pre-level 6 strength isn't needed in the laning phase. The two health potions will allow you to harass your opponent in the lane without losing too much health yourself. When going up against an opponent who buys a Doran's Item, or something else that doesn't leave them with health pots, you have a significant advantage regardless of how much damage they can deal. The early Meki Pendant is also important to have because of the next item you must absolutely always buy: The Chalice of Harmony.
On your first trip home, you should easily be able to afford the Chalice of Harmony and Boots of Speed (Sorcerer's Shoes if you farmed hard and got a kill). The Chalice of Harmony is so very important on LeBlanc because of her extreme mana dependency early in the game. Without very high mana regen, you will find yourself going home after every teamfight or after farming one lane for a little gold/exp. The Chalice of Harmony makes it so that you can stay on the field and farm gold/exp for a much longer time than you could normally so that you level up faster and get gold for that much needed Rabadon's quicker. Don't forget to buy health potions so that it's not dangerous to stay on the field for so long. Potions are very cheap and heal you for so much---it seriously only takes 2 minions to make back the money for 1 health potion.
LeBlanc is a nightmare early game with the ability to Q/R/W most any champion to instant death that's below her level. In order to keep dominating the early game, rushing a Rabadon's Deathcap is a very smart idea. You should be able to finish it right before or around level 18, where your Ability Power Per Level runes finally give you their last kick of energy and amplify your damage from the Rabadon's even further. If you are getting hella fed and can afford a Mejai's early, get it. Finishing both a Rabadon's and a Mejai's at level 18 will ensure a swift victory.
Should you be fighting against a very tanky-DPS type of team OR if a standard enemy team is buying early magic resistance, go ahead and pick up a cheap Haunting Guise to keep your Magic Penetration high.
(()) AND OR
After you hit level 16 and level up your ultimate to 3, you don't need high mana regeneration anymore. Seriously, your ultimate costs 0 mana to cast at level 3, so you don't need the Chalice anymore and can sell it when you get stable mana regen from the Deathfire's Grasp (or atleast the Fiendish Codex). The Deathfire's grasp will also give you 15% cooldown reduction which will bring you close enough to the 40% cooldown mark to fill it with either the Blue Buff or a Blue Elixer. Buy a Blue Elixer and have it in your inventory, but only use it if you're about to team fight and haven't gotten blue yet. After you get the Deathfire's (which should be right after the Rabadon's) you need to always stay at 40% cooldown to perform at your absolute best. Having a 14.4 second cooldown ultimate, and being able to silence an enemy for 6 seconds at a time (see Spell Cycles section below) is amazingly useful. The Deathfire's will also give you another spell to raise your DPS with, just remember to use the item.
Most games you play on Summoner's Rift will end by mid game. Because of this, working towards your next item during mid game can be a win or lose situation depending on what you build. When fighting against high burst champions or champions that can stun like Veigar, or champions that can reposition you like Alistar or Blitzcrank, you are better off to build the "Oh Sh---" item Zhonya's Hourglass first. It's active ability will save your life many times if you can use it correctly, and it's very high ability power adds greatly to your damage. Should you find yourself in a bad position, it's very easy to activate Zhonya's Hourglass and then Distortion away to safety.
The other item you need to choose between building is Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Build this item before Zhonya's Hourglass if the enemy has lots of fast enemies, good gap closers, or is a very tanky-DPS team composed of people like Lee Sin, Mordekaiser, and/or Xin Zhao. Rylai's will give you the health to withstand tanky-DPS's initial damage and allow you to slow them enough so you can either get away or keep them from getting away until you can kill them.
If the game is still going on, buy the other item that you didn't buy in mid game (Zhonya's or Rylai's) UNLESS the enemy is severely tanky-DPS, in which case you need to rush a void staff to deal damage. In place of the void staff, you might actually want to get an abyssal-scepter instead. It lowers enemy Magic Resistance by a flat 20, which brings your total Magic Penetration to 50 with your boots and runes. Depending on your enemy's Magic Resistance, you can actually deal more damage with an Abyssal Scepter than a Void Staff.
The magic number for choosing between the Abyssal Scepter and the Void Staff is 80. If the enemy has 80 Magic Resistance, the Abyssal Scepter will actually make you deal more damage (with this build) to that enemy than the Void Staff---but anything higher than 80 on your enemy and the Void Staff will hit harder. However, remember that the Abyssal Scepter gives a good 57 Magic Resistance to yourself, which might be more desirable versus heavy magic teams than a little extra damage that the void staff would give you. The choice is up to you.
Knowing The Different Ways to Cycle
Cycling your skills correctly in battle is the most important thing to learn as LeBlanc, since her skill Mimic produces different effects based on what order you cast your spells in. Below are some good examples you can follow to produce the main effects you'd typically want on LeBlanc.
(video on Skill Cycles coming eventually)
This typical cycle is the first important one to learn. When you want to obliterate your target, this skill order is the highest damage output you can muster in the shortest amount of time. When you are using this cycle in mid game, especially around level 11, you can typically kill your target immediately after you ignite your mimicked Sigil with Distortion and you wont even have to use Ethereal Chains or the last Sigil. If your target doesn't die and you need to keep attacking, you COULD wait for your Sigil to be off of cooldown before you attack with Ethreal Chains in order to proc that extra damage from igniting Sigil. This is not recommended when using this version of the Burst Cycle because there is nothing stopping the enemy from escaping while you wait for Sigil's cooldown.
A more efficient Burst Cycle is Sigil--->Mimic--->Ethereal Chains--->Sigil--->Distortion. Swapping the order of Ethereal Chains, Sigil, and Distortion seriously lowers the chance of an enemy escaping, as well as getting your second Sigil to proc the extra damage. If the enemy has Flash, an early Ethereal Chains in this cycle will typically make them blow it immediately to escape, and you can follow up with Distortion and then your last Sigil when it's off cooldown. An enemy Ghost is also no problem, since Ethereal Chains before Distortion will slow them enough to keep them in range---or, if they actually are about to break Ethereal Chains by pure movement, you can use Distortion to close the gap immediately so that Ethereal Chains does proc the snare and you are in range for your Sigil.
Even though Sigil--->Mimic--->Ethereal Chains--->Sigil--->Distortion is a stronger Burst Cycle than the standard burst, it requires good aiming and timing with Ethereal Chains. Remember that Ethereal Chains will hit the first enemy it touches, which includes minions. You need a clear shot to perform this type of the Burst Cycle, and you need to have good aim. If you are trying to burst an enemy over a wall of minions, or if you need the space closer of Distortion to more successfully land your Ethereal Chains, then the original Burst Cycle combo would typically be more effective for you.
Six Second Silence Cycle:
Sigil--->Mimic--->WAIT 2 SECONDS--->Ethereal Chains--->WAIT 2 SECONDS--->Sigil--->Distortion
At 40% cooldown, your Sigil has only 3.6 second cooldown, and silences for 2 seconds. Since Mimic repeats the last spell you cast, you can silence someone for 4 seconds (2 seconds from Sigil, 2 seconds from Mimic), and while the enemy is still silenced, you can recast Sigil and ignite it with another spell for 2 more seconds of silence.
While not technically different from LeBlanc's Burst Cycle, the ability that LeBlanc has to completely silence an enemy for 6 whole seconds is so significant that it needs to be mentioned and explained. This cycle for her spells is for 1v1ing enemy mages where you know you can get your first two spells cast without them retaliating with any CC effects, and for when you know you will need more than 4 spells to kill your target. Also do not attempt this in any fight against more than 1 enemy unless you know you wont get focused. Since it takes time for this whole cycle to take effect on the enemy, it can also not typically be used successfully in lane---it works best in isolated areas where you can gank the enemy without their foreknowledge. You need to ignite your Mimicked Sigil with Ethereal Chains to slow and snare the target before they can get too far away from you. If you know that you can kill your target by bursting with 4 spells, using this variation of the Burst Cycle is silly and wastes your time/potentially lets your target escape.
Say that your teammate has warded the bush in top lane, and you see the enemy Annie start moving from top lane to mid lane (where you are) and that she has a stun. The best reaction is to move up towards her and wait in one of the brush for her to pass by. Even though she has a stun, if you can cycle your spells in this manner you can prevent her from using that stun on you until the last possible moment and lets your spells cooldown as much as possible until Annie can retaliate. This cycle also works well if you scout the enemy blue or red buffs and can gank.
Pre-Loaded Distortion Cycle:
Mimicked Distortion--->Sigil--->Ethereal Chains--->Sigil--->Distortion
Pre-loading Distortion into Mimic before you attempt a fight is a very safe way to chase enemies who are alone or dive a carry who's protected by his team. Typically, in a regular burst to kill an enemy, you would Mimic your Sigil to burst hard. This leaves you with one escape mechanism, Distortion, and yet you still may even need to use Distortion to damage your enemy more to kill them. With MIAs abound, or if you know that your enemy is near his allies, this kind of attacking is dangerous and could kill you faster than you can kill your enemy OR will end up killing you even if you get your target.
Starting off your attack with a Mimicked Distortion allows you to damage your enemies (with intent to harass strong enemies or kill low-hp enemies) while keeping yourself in a very strong defensive position. Basically, you sacrifice a little bit of offensive power and speed for a great defensive/mobile advantage. When using this spell cycle, this should be your thought process:
Mimicked Distortion: Am I still safe to fight? If no, recast and escape. If Yes:
Sigil--->Ethereal Chains: Can I still fight safely? No: Distortion away and escape. If Yes:
Sigil--->Distortion: Am I safe? No: Recast and escape. If Yes:
Ethereal Chains and follow up with auto attacks for the kill and escape. If, for some crazy reason, your target still isn't dead and you're still safe from counter attack, your Sigil will come off of cooldown in about 2 seconds. As you can see, this cycle takes a good deal of time---and because of that, this is most effective when you are either invading the enemy jungle or tower diving a low health enemy.
The Diving Cycle is when you want to put yourself in range of a far away enemy while staying in a very good (although frail) defensive position. Even though the Diving Cycle is dependent on Flash, it is the strongest use of Distortion Deception that LeBlanc has. There are three prime situations where you can utilize this spell cycle effectively: Gap closing, Chasing, and tower/team diving.
The times you will find yourself using this for it's gap closing ability is when you are laning and have harassed your opponent to low health but they refuse to leave their lane. In this situation they will attempt to stay in lane and get exp/money, but to also stay more than a Distortion's distance away from you. When you feel they are close enough to you, use Distortion to set your return point behind you and then Flash right next to them and combo your Sigil with Mimic to kill them before recasting Distortion. If the enemy happened to bait you into attacking them so that others on his team could gank you, their gank will end horribly while you pick up a kill. Using Distortion before flash sets your return point very far behind you, so that when you recast Distortion after the kill you are safe.
When you are chasing an enemy down, you don't always want to use your ultimate to mimic Distortion in order to catch up, since you might need Mimic to cycle your Sigil twice to kill. Using flash instead of that second Distortion from your ultimate will get you close to your enemy and keep your ultimate up to burst them dead. This is also a very useful cycle to do when chasing an enemy who has entered their jungle. Even though you are overextending yourself to attempt a kill, any other enemy who surprises you wont have much time to do anything since you can simply recast Distortion and be miles away.
A low health enemy hiding either behind their team or behind their tower is not actually as safe as they think they are. In case of a tower, you can Distortion into tower range, flash right next to them, and Sigil+Mimic a kill before recasting Distortion to get back out of tower range. You will take one or two hits from the tower, but no more. The same idea works against a grouped up enemy team. Because of how fast the Distortion--->Flash combo closes the gap, many people wont react fast enough to move out of the way or to attack you. Low health enemies that are behind or in the middle of their team can still be killed by you if you Distortion towards the enemy team and flash over them before bursting and recasting Distortion.
The bane to the Diving Cycle is crowd control. While you might set your return point for Distortion very far behind you, a one or two second stun from the enemy will put you in a really bad position. Your return point for Distortion could time out if you get stunned, which would leave you without an escape if you can't mimic Distortion because you already used another spell. Always make sure that the enemy you are tower diving or chasing cannot stun you before you kill them. If you decide to use the Diving Cycle to kill an enemy who is protected by his team, try to avoid Distortioning and Flashing near enemies that can stun you.
Examples of the Diving Cycle can be found in the video Distortion Deception at the end of the guide.
Double Distortion Cycle
A very basic spell cycle that all LeBlanc players should keep in mind. Quickly using Distortion and Mimic will allow you to jump over walls or to simply create or compress distance between you and an enemy. When quickly escaping with a back-to-back Distortion, keep in mind that doing a recast of either spell to quickly change position and direction can be all you need to escape. Distortion Deception is a powerful tool in your arsenal, and really stays true to who LeBlanc is: The Deceiver. Using the Double Distortion Cycle to get close enough to an enemy to snare them with Ethereal Chains can allow your team to catch up and earn a kill.
Don't forget that this spell cycle is also your best farming tool. Distorting into a group of minions and the Mimicking it back onto the minions can instantly kill all but the strongest one once you get enough levels (which is typically around mid game/level 11).
Pre-Loaded Chain Cycle:
Mimicked Ethereal Chains--->Sigil--->Ethereal Chains
Having chains preloaded into Mimic is a smart way to approach a situation where your team or someone on your team is fleeing. This allows you to use your double snare on one or two targets and gives you the ability to silence one of those targets. Although it has a niche-use, I've found myself running out of my base and casting Ethereal Chains to have it preloaded when I see my team is losing a fight elsewhere on the map. That silence can sometimes mean the difference between Maokai snaring your hurt teammate or Malzahar ulting another. Because helping teammates escape typically also puts you in danger, keeping your fingers ready to mash either Distortion or your summoner spells is a good habit for good health.
Double Chain Cycle:
Being able to pre-load Ethereal Chains into Mimic is not always the smartest thing to do when you need to help a teammate immediately, since your regular chains would be on cooldown and your mimic would be all you can do. It is in these situations where doing a regular Ethereal Chains to Mimic would be smartest. Alternatively, doubling your Ethereal Chains is a smart offensive move when you want to keep a hard to kill enemy in one place for your team to defeat and you're already there and fighting him.
Counter-Proof Harass Cycle:
Typically only a laning cycle, this cast order is used for harassing enemies who are very strong laners that force you to play defensively or for enemies that play very defensively themselves. You Distort in-range of the enemy, damage with Sigil and ignite with Ethereal Chains, then recast Distortion to leave range of the enemy before they or their minions can damage you. If you can safely stay and let your Chains snare for the extra damage (without yourself being counter attacked) then let them do so and back up before the enemy can retaliate. Otherwise, as soon as you start casting Ethereal Chains, immediately Distort back to your starting position. Even though you wont be standing where you originally cast Ethereal Chains, the spell will continue forward on it's pre-determined path like you were still standing there.
The obvious significant drawback to this strategy is the high mana cost associated with it. With no mana regen runes, your Meki Pendant wont be enough to sustain this cycle for long. Against a laner with Doran's items/no pots, your health pots will buy you enough time to regen mana and cycle this enough to earn you a kill at level 6 or 7, if you play it right. If not, you'll simply need to request help from other lanes or go home and get back to your lane ASAP.
This cycle also has offensive uses for harassment. When your team has forced the enemy team to defend an inhibitor turret, or if the enemy is forcing your team to defend an inhib turret, you can use this over the sides of either base's walls. When practicing this late game, you'll want to add Mimic in there to really burst em hard, making the cycle:
Keep in mind that Ethereal Chains will continue it's regular path even if you recast Distortion immediately.
Champion Match-upsNormally, your easiest target is either any other mage OR an AD champion that relies on skills to be effective, like Urgot (although you'll need to gauge their auto attack damage so you can tell if you will win the fight or not). LeBlanc's defining skill is her ability to silence for long amounts of time, so as long as you can get your first two spells off without any CC retaliation you have a serious advantage. The hardest champions for you to fight effectively are AD carries who don't need skills (Ashe/Caitlyn) and Tanky DPS with good MR (Morde/Jarvan). Supports are always a great target, especially healers that can't silence you, like Sona.
Typical Easy Fights
Easy fights are those against champions who are considered mages and have no crowd control or limited crowd control that has a small range or takes skill to land. You can typically approach these champions head on and do just fine, granted you can dodge their stuns. Of course, you always have to be careful around an enemy who has more gold-earned than you (i.e. they've killed more minions and have more kills), but generally, in an even match where you're both equally farmed, you have the upper hand.
Match-ups you should be careful of
Champions in this category are mages who have easy to hit crowd controls (typically silence), or have very good sustainability. They should be fairly easy for you to kill, you'll just need to somehow secure your first two spells on them before they can retaliate so that they can't use CC on you or dodge your spells (like what Vladimir's Sanguine Pool can do). These are the champions whom you typically want to use your 6-second-silence-cycle on, since they are fairly useless if they can't cast. Fighting these guys head on is risky, unless you know they've blown their CC spell on something else and can't cast it at the moment.
Hard to Win Fights
Fights that are hard to win are against champions who have lots of crowd control, who don't need spells to deal damage, or naturally tanky champions who can run faster than you. Against tanks/bruisers, cycling your chains is a good way to keep them off your back long enough for your team to help. If you have to fight against an auto-attacker, and you know their damage output is high, you need to burst as fast as you can and leave before you take too much damage. You should never try to fight tanks unless you know your own damage against them or have help, and you should only try to fight auto-attackers if you know your own damage against them and can surprise them. Early game, auto-attackers aren't typically a problem, but I've found myself getting way too cocky mid/late game and dieing to auto-attackers who just stand there and shoot.
Your Mindset as the Game Progresses
Grab your Meki Pendant and Pots, head to mid lane, and start last hitting minions like a boss. Should there be a jungler on your team, scout for him by river before the minions spawn and give him a pull on the Blue Buff (attacking blue once before he does) if he needs it before going to your lane. In your lane, if your enemy is very aggressive, attack them when they walk into your minion pile. At levels 1-3, you, combined with your minions and your half-second stealth from your passive, will kill them easily. If your enemy isn't aggressive, last hit minions until level 3 when you upgrade your Sigil to level 2. Now is the time to start harassing with your Sigil. If you can, always ignite it with Distortion or Ethereal Chains. If your enemy starts getting aggressive after level 3 and you are losing your lane, refer to the Counter-Proof Harass Spell Cycle above to get your harassment off while staying safe near your tower. Don't be afraid to ask for help from the other lanes (or your jungler) if you are slowly losing.
Make sure you scout your enemy's items. If they have a lot of health pots, you'll probably need help from your jungler or other lanes to get that all important kill at level 6. If your enemy has gotten a Doran's item, you're in luck! Any Doran's item on your enemy means that they cannot heal themselves effectively, and that trading damage with the enemy will result in your favor since your health pots will keep you strong. If you manage your mana right, and you can harass effectively, it should be no problem to burn a summoner spell or two and pick up first blood or your first kill of the game at level 6 with your Burst Cycle. If your enemy is smart and goes home since he knows you can kill him soon, get your lane pushed and gank top or bottom.
When fighting against your opponent in mid lane, don't forget that auto attacks deal damage too---I've noticed quite a few people will run forwards or backwards or around in circles in between casting their spells trying to kill their enemy instead of auto-attacking. It might be only 50 damage or so, but it's totally worth the effort to auto-attack for that little extra damage, you'll be happy when it earns you a kill. Remember that while spells don't draw aggression from the enemy minions, auto-attacks will---so if you're only try to harass, don't overextend into the enemy minion pile to auto-attack, as you'll lose a lot of health from their minions unnecessarily.
If you can't get mid lane at the start of the game, then top solo lane is your next best bet IF it's a 1v1 lane. LeBlanc cannot 2v1 effectively. Should you be forced to take a 2v2 lane, you'll just have to remember that you'll be weaker than most everyone else in the game. If this happens, as soon as you buy your Chalice of Harmony, just focus on farming to catch up.
On your first trip back home, even if you didn't get a kill at level 6 and even if you missed quite a few minion kills, you'll easily be able to afford both the Chalice of Harmony and the basic Boots of Speed (it's only 850 gold to get both). If you are a total boss and got one or two kills with many last hits on the minions, you'll be able to get your Sorcerer's Shoes and proceed to stomp the game. With the Chalice of Harmony now in your inventory, you don't need mana regen, but health is still an issue so I greatly recommend buying health pots to allow you to stay on the field for a much longer time than otherwise. Now that you have your ultimate and large mana regen, you will be able to dominate your lane with constant spell casting and be able to farm fairly easily. If you can either take down mid tower or force your opponent in mid to go home often (or send them home by way of death), gank top and bot lanes. LeBlanc is a great playmaker in mid game because of her gap-closing ability Distortion and slow/snare from Ethereal Chains that can get her into a fight and keep the enemy from reaching their tower before they die. Don't forget to communicate with your team so that you have a better chance of getting a successful gank off. If you bring Ghost, use it to change lanes quickly so the enemy doesn't have time to call MIA on you and back up before you get there. Don't fall into the bad habit of succeeding in a gank and then going home---push and take down towers if it is safe to do so.
Your strength mid game should extend to level 11 when your ult gets a nice upgrade and your Double Distortion Spell Cycle (W-->R) allows you to one shot minion waves. Don't be afraid to use your Double Distortion Cycle to farm if you know you're safe from enemy ganks and/or there is no imminent team fight. The closer you get to level 18 the more your damage subsides, so it's very important to get that Rabadon's Deathcap as early as possible to extend your early game dominance for as long as possible.
If you have a good jungler on your team who's counter warding the enemy jungle (or dragon), you should also be able to effectively gank/harass enemies moving between lanes. Keep in mind the known positions of the enemies currently on the field, and make use of your Pre-Loaded Distortion Cycle to stop enemies from getting buffs or to pressure/steal dragon if the enemy is getting it.
Once you hit level 16, your ultimate does not cost mana anymore, and you can sell the Chalice of Harmony whenever you want. This doesn't mean you don't need any mana regeneration though, so always build Deathfire's Grasp right after your Rabadon's.
Somewhere in between Mid Game and Late Game is where things start to get deadly for you. You can no longer one-burst every enemy on the other team, and you die fairly easy. This is when and why you get some sort of defense and utility item to increase your survivability and DPS power. If the enemy is primarily leaning on the strength of tanky-DPS champions, build your Rylai's Crystal Scepter next for the health and slow proc on all of your abilities (your Ethereal Chains will pretty much stop anyone from getting close to you or away from you). If the enemy is dealing damage mainly from their bursty/fast killing AD or AP carries, build a Zhonya's Hourglass before the Rylai's. Should you find yourself in a position where death can be immediate, casting Zhonya's Hourglass can save your life and give your escape ability Distortion enough time to come off of cooldown. Whichever item you decide to build first, get the other item after it.
The longer the game drags on, the less of a threat you are when you're by yourself. Stay with your team and compliment their attacks or defenses with all of your abilities. Keep your abilities at 40% cooldown whenever you can with blue buff, or if that's not possible, get to 40% cooldown reduction by using a blue elixer before you need to fight the enemy.
If the game is long enough that you somehow get to your final item, your best choices are between the Void Staff if the enemy is very tanky or the Abyssal Scepter if the enemy deals mainly magic damage or has many squishy champions. Should you get 6 items, stop farming and let your team get the gold they need to complete their last items.
Just remember to stay with your team and compliment their attacks or defenses and you should do just fine. It's dangerous to dive for enemy carries as you need some time to cycle your spells fully to kill enemies that have magic resist---so wait for your tank to initiate/stun enemies before you jump in with flash or Distortion. If you get a Void Staff you are strong against tanks, so poke at them a lot before a team fight starts to give your team the advantage.
FAQsThere are currently no FAQs that pertain to this version of the guide.
Distortion Deception - Using LeBlanc's Distortion to trick opponents by evading them or killing them unexpectedly.
Montage/General Gameplay videos
Highlights - 5 short clips of some nice LeBlanc kills.
High-speed LeBlanc - An entire 20 minute game packed into a 3 and a half minute video.
Teamfight 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC0aNrv2ZZA
Teamfight 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUQfHEPymxk
Closing RemarksWhile I may not be good enough to participate in tournaments like Dreamhack, I've been playing LeBlanc as my main mage of choice since her release and feel safe to say I know more about her than almost anyone else. If you have questions, need help, want to contribute an idea, or want to debate about Evaine, my in-game-name is Cysote on the US servers, or you can join my Teamspeak 3 server at: tx.teamspeak.cc:9027 to talk.
v1.000 - All sections of the guide are written, and the guide has been published!
v1.101 - Added the Distortion Deception video under Spells and touched up on grammar/spelling.
v1.111 - Added information on the length of Ethereal Chains under Spells, as well as a supporting picture.
v1.211 - Added a new section, "Champion Match-ups", to talk about how easy/difficult other champions are for LeBlanc to kill.
v1.232 - Updated the Runes and Items section, as well as added a nice blurb for Mid Game in the Mindset Chapter.
v1.333 - Added a new section, "FAQs", to have the questions (and my answers) about LeBlanc easier to find. Touched up on some explanations
v1.833 - 9/18/11 - Changed this guide's Item Build and Rune Build, and rewrote the Runes/Item Build/Mindset chapters to match the new build.
v1.844 - 9/19/11 - Added a new section for LeBlanc videos, and change the name of the "Spells" chapt to "LeBlanc's Spells"
v1.856 - 9/22/11 - Added a new Spell Cycle, The Diving Cycle, and two nice blurbs under the Double Distortion cycle and the Introduction.