IntroductionHeimerdinger, in my opinion is still of the weaker AP carries in the game. There are just too many champions that can do so much more than he can. However, you can still play him effectively, you just need play to his strengths. Although Heimer, is physically the weakest and slowest champion in the game, all of his abilities allows him to hang back and deal damage out of harms way.
His rockets is one of the longest nukes in game, his grenade is relatively long, and you can think of his turrets as yet another extension that he can place in front of himself. In short, you want to deal as much damage as possible with out ever being touched. To do that, you need to familiarize yourself with every detail of his range, know to to play defensively, and when to play aggressively.
MasteriesThe mastery I use for Heimer is pretty unusual. I like going 21 deep into utility because It feels like Heimer is always the insta-gibbed target, especially the way I build him. So it is important that he can get his flash and ghost up ASAP so he can kite around the enemy. Some other benefits are the extra experience gained from awareness, the lane sustain from perseverance and transmutation.
RunesFor Heimer there are 2 books I like to run. The first book is an early game harass book. Flat AP Quints, Magic pen Reds, AP/Level for blue, and flat mp5 yellows. I use this book if I plan on winning and pushing my opponents around early game and securing early dragons.
My second book use EXP Quintessence, Mpen Reds, Mp5/level Runes, and ap/Lvl. This is one of my trial rune pages that I pair with a 9-0-21 Mastery Build with extra experience in the Utility tree. What I found is with this book. I can frequently come back from behind. And when I am not behind, having the extra experience will almost always put my at level 18 before anyone else.
For Heimer, it feels like ghost flash is a must have. You never really need anything else because you never want to be close enough for anyone to attack you. For example, against an amumu, carries tend to grab cleanse. But in this case, you want to be so far back that Amumu will never beable to reach you. You need both these spells to escape because he is so slow and squishy that he will be a target for ganks all game.
The only time I grab anything else would be against a Maokai. Because if Maokai flash Twisted advances you, he will snare you no matter what. If you flash as well, he will still catch you. It is better to have ghost cleanse and cleanse the moment the root hits.
Passive: Techmaturgical Repair Bots
Heimerdinger gives nearby allied Turrets and Champions 6/12/16/22 health regen per 5.
I really like that passive because it heals all you allies around you and your Tower! Its a really good pushing passive and gives you incredible sustainability early game. Because of this passive Heimer can afford to not get health pots at level and still lane effectively. This passive generally lets me play very aggressive by exchanging normal attacks. Those little wrench doesn't do much damage but after a few they add up! When you exchange auto attacks, you will almost always take more damage. But overtime, the passive and your nuke harass will quickly put you in the advantage.
Q: H-28G Evolution Turret
Heimerdinger constructs a Machine Gun Turret with (260 + 15 x Lvl) health and 30 / 38 / 46 / 54 / 62 (+25% of ability power) magic damage. Max: 1 / 2 / 2 / 3 / 3 Turrets.
Evolution Turrets upgrade every 7 attacks, gaining additional damage (deals half damage to towers). Every 2 levels of this skill will level the turret into a new type, becoming a green armor and magic resist reducing turret at level 2 and a red area of effect attacker at level 5.
Cooldown 32 / 28 / 24 / 20 / 16 seconds
Cost 70/80/90/100/110 mana
This ability is very important because it allows Heimer to control Dragon early game. As soon as you hit level 6 and your jungle is ready to do dragon, you can plop down 2 turrets and to mow it down really quickly. Dropping down turrets, not only helps kill dragon it also acts as a defense mechanism when people try to contest dragon. Also, sometimes I like to use the turrets as ward if there is too much gank pressure.
Apart from buff and dragon control, the turrets sets up a safety zone which you can use to push lanes slowly. When your team groups up for to push after and early advantage. You can almost always clear all the external towers just by poking away and receding to your turret's safety.
Finally, these turrets are damn annoying in team fights. If you drop 2 turrets as a team fight happens and back off to send nades and rockets from behind. Their zerg champions has to run through your turrets to get to you. If they don't attack you, you will get free nukes in the back. If they do attack you, you can pop flash and ghost then run circles around them.
W: Hextech Micro-Rockets
Heimerdinger fires 3 enemy seeking Micro-Rocket(s), hitting targets nearest to him. Each rocket deals 85 / 135 / 185 / 235 / 285 (+55% of ability power) magic damage.
Cost 65 / 85 / 105 / 125 / 145mana
This is my favorite spell early game for harassing. It has such great range and is relatively easy to land. If you have the mana to support spamming it, its like a free harass. The thing with the spell is that it pushes lanes when you harass. Also, you have to push lanes to effectively land it. The best time to shoot your rockets is right after your wrench last hits a creep (when there's 3 left). Then you shoot a rocket right after.
E: CH-1 Concussion Grenade
Heimerdinger tosses a grenade, dealing 80 / 135 / 190 / 245 / 300 (+55% of ability power) magic damage to enemy units (50% to turrets) and blinding them for 1 / 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3 seconds. Enemies who are directly hit are stunned for 1.5 seconds.
Cooldown 14 / 13 / 12 / 11 / 10seconds
Cost 80 / 90 / 100 / 110 / 120mana
This spell is badass. The only thing is that its so god damn hard to land. If I can land this more than 70% of the time I would max this with out a hint of hesitation. But since its so hard, I tend to max it last. The best time to use this early game is just defensively. I tend to drop it right in front of myself @ melee range when I get ganked. The reason I choose to max rockets over this is because I can have a 100% hit rate with rockets so I can balance mana/harass at all time. This is too much a hit or miss.
Passive: 10 / 15 / 20% Cooldown Reduction.
Active: All active Evolution Turrets are healed for 100% of their maximum health and also fire 20 / 25 / 30% movement slowing frost shots for 10 seconds. Fires five Hextech Micro-Rockets instead of 3 and your CH-1 Concusion Grenade travels faster.
Cooldown 60 / 45 / 30seconds
I generally delay this because the you don't really need the slow in lane phase. You also don't need the 5 rockets because there won't be any 5v5 fights for the first 8 minutes usually. I usually delay this until level 7 where I can get lvl 3 rockets and level 3 Turrets (for 2 greens). Then I keep 1 point in this until I max turrets and Rockets.
Skill OrderDepending what you're up against, you want to skill slightly differently. Normally, I would skill W.Q.W.Q.W.Q but if there is a lot of threat from the Jungle I would skill W,Q,W,E or W,E,W,Q. How I determine which one to use is by weighing how much threat I am getting in lane and how much threat I am getting in jungle. Turrets are great against and melee laner. It zones them out and gives you free hits. So if I am going against a Morde, I would get a turret earlier over concussion bomb to space him back and push the lanes. Once you add a jungle to the mix you know have to skill to counter that threat as well. The champions I have to most problem with is probably shaco and I would almost always have to skill concussion bombs early to stun him the moment he pops out.
Other than some minor exceptions, I generally like to max rockets and turrets first!.
Game Play VideoHere's a Heimer Game I have recorded showing the basics of how I lane. You generally want middle. But if you are blue side, top isn't that bad.
Turret PlacementWhen you are in lane, it is important to know where to place your turrets to be the most effective. Generally, you want to place your turrets away from your creeps if the enemy has any for of AOE. You do this so your turrets doesn't take collateral damage when they are nuking your creeps. Also you want to know the AOE range of the enemy so you never stack 2 turrets close enough so that they can nuke 2 turrets with 1 spell. On the flip side, if the enemy is a single target champion like Ezreal, you want bury it in with your creep line so he can't snipe it
I usually like to place the turrets right where the creep would meet so the creeps do not attack my turrets or stop when my creep wave meets theirs. I usually tactically place my turrets to form a barrier too! Hypothetically, if I am blue side. I would ward the curved brush on the between the enemies ancient golem and the middle divider. Then I would place 2 turrets on the right side of the creep line. What this does is it creates a safety barrier I can retreat to. I have vision on the right and I have turret protection on the left.
When you are pushing you want to place your turrets probably 200-300 range away from the tower range if there are enemies defending it. You don't want it too close because you don't want them sniping it down. Also you want to be able to retreat and fight as far away from the turret as possible when they do engage.
Early GameThe way I play Heimer Early game is really aggressive. My whole philosophy is that if I can get hits on a champion I will do it. Once you get any champion under about 50% health, it opens up that lane for an easy gank. That puts tremendous pressure on them and they will either start losing last hits or risk dying. What I generally try to do is to go straight to the lanes and start pushing it. I would rocket and right click the first wave asap. As soon as I can start rocketing and right clicking a champion I will do it with little hesitation.
My general rule of thumb is that I am safe from jungle ganks for up to the 4 minutes mark. So my goal for that first 4 minutes is to get them so low that when a jungle does gank me, I can kill the laner then burn summoners to get away. Also, because I am pushing lanes so aggressively, I need to ward. Think of it this way. A ward is approximately 3 creeps, so if you deny the guy 3 creeps in about 4 minutes its well worth it. On top of that, every time their jungle ganks you, they are going to be wasting time.
One of the problem I know most players will face when using this build is mana problems. It is very important to manage your mana wisely, especially early game. You want to be near full mana for until level 3. Its okay to throw down a random ability if you are mana capped. But if you are, you have got to make ever point of your mana count. If you are going to drop your turrets, don't drop it to die. If you are going to shoot a rocket, make sure it hits the champion. Finally, right clicking is your friend. The wrench doesn't do much damage. But like I said earlier, it adds up!
Mid GameMid game for Heimer starts at about 10 minutes. It comes a lot earlier most other champions. This is right around where you want to contest for the first dragon. The best way to set up a dragon fight is to harass mid to under 60% health and wait for top to get ganked by jungle. Then 4 of your allies will rush dragon. You will then drop 2 turrets on the outer side of dragon in case a team fight happens. If you coordinate this well with your team, its almost always a free dragon.
Between your first dragon and getting the 2nd dragon, as Heimer you want all the Ancient Golem buff from here on out. This is probably Heimer's Prime and you want to take advantage of it. This is when you start shoving lanes and taking towers. You want to call your team to start roaming as 3-5 now. If you roam with 3 you cannot engage in fighting. Only set up turrets poke and back. It is also important at this point to start warding heavily outside the lanes that you will be pushing. The thing with Heimer is that you can't fight him straight on. You have to flank him to kill him.
By about 17 minutes, you should have a deathcap and fighting for the 2nd dragon. You should also be putting pressure on tower and hopefully you are already at the 2nd tower. You basically want to roam as a group, get global objectives, and siege until you win the game.
Late GameLate game for Heimer is about 25 minutes. He is still going to be strong at this point. But not much longer. He still start falling off once an enemy carry can 2 shot his turret. So basically want to either win this in the next 10 minutes or be so far a head that you can't lose this.
Team FightsPlaying with a Heimer on your team almost always forces you to play like you are using a poke comp. Heimer is great at doing 1k burst damage with his grenade an rocket combo then backing to his turret's safety. This is also a requirement of your team. You and your team should be playing like you are playing dodgeball. You want to set up your two turrets near where you thing the team fight is going to happen. When your CD's are up, you are safe to run the enemy's line to attack. The moment you lose that ball (your abilities are on CD), you run back to your side. You do this to pull the enemies or force them to engage and then you back up into Heimer's turrets.
Fighting on Heimer's turrets is probably one of the best position you can get. It really not up to you to do this and more your team, but when a team fight breaks out. Heimer need to back behind his turrets and his allies also needs to collapse back on him to pull the enemy before engaging on a full fight.
Sometimes, Heimer can't really set up his turrets prior to fighting. His best alternative is to throw his concussion bomb and rocket and immediately drop the turrets right behind his allies slightly in the enemy's range. Throwing the concussion bomb first and dropping the turrets at the same time creates a momentary safety barrier and makes it slightly less risky to be in firing range.