Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley
Lissandra the Ice Witch is one of several League of Legends champions that utilizes ice magic as a weapon. Lissandra is versatile and but fits most successfully into the role of support. She has many crowd control abilities which can turn the tides of a match when used correctly, but she is also very complex and can be hard to play (she has a difficulty rating of '80').
Lissandra's passive, Iceborn, makes it so that every 18 seconds her next ability will cost no mana to cast. Normal cooldown reduction from items or runes won't affect Iceborn but it does get reduced by one second every time she impairs an enemy's movement speed with one of her abilities. This passive can be useful early game, when mana is more precious, but in late game when mana is much more plentiful it becomes pretty much useless.
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Her 'Q' is Ice Shard which is a basic skill shot where Lissandra throws a massive icicle toward an enemy in a line. Riot's Champion Spotlight video suggests maxing Ice Shard first since it is her major damage spell. It really doesn't do that much damage, though, since it only scales with 65% of her AP. Ice Shard will shatter after hitting the first target and shards of the icicle are then projected out past the first target, damaging other targets behind it in a spread. It's sort of like Graves' ultimate in that regard. This makes it a lot easier to hit, though the slowing effect will only be applied to an enemy it hits directly. Ice Shard is best used to poke at enemies due to its range or to slow enemies trying to escape since directly hitting them with Ice Shard will also slow their movement speed by to 28% (keep in mind impairing movement speed with her abilities will also reduce the cooldown on the Iceborn passive).
Lissandra's 'W' is Ring of Frost. Ring of Frost is a very powerful ability that is somewhat comparable to Amumu's ultimate, Curse of the Sad Mummy. When activated, Ring of Frost will deal magic damage and snare enemies around her for between 1.1 seconds and 1.5 seconds depending on the ability's level. This is fairly similar to what Amumu's ult does, except his snares enemies for two seconds and prevents them from using basic attacks while Ring of Frost does not.
Ring of Frost has a slightly shorter range than Curse of the Sad Mummy at just 450 compared to 550 and Curse of the Sad Mummy also deals more damage. Amumu's ult is considered one of the best in the game when it comes to team fights and although it is clearly better than Ring of Frost in pretty much every way, Ring of Frost is sort of like a “mini-ult” and it does have a few benefits to it.
First of all, Ring of Frost can be cast while moving whereas Curse of the Sad Mummy cannot. This makes it easier for Lissandra to use it to slow her pursuers while trying to flee or to slow someone while chasing them. Secondly, Ring of Frost also has a much shorter cooldown and also reduces the cooldown on her Iceborn passive for each enemy it hits.
Lissandra's 'E' is arguably her best spell. Called Glacial Path, she sends out a claw of ice in a line dealing magic damage to any enemy it hits and goes through. That's not all, though. She can cast the spell again while the claw is still out there and teleport to the claw's current location. This gives Lissandra a lot of extra mobility. Glacial Path has a range of 1,050 which is even longer than Blitzcrank's infamous Rocket Grab ability. You can pretty much teleport across entire lanes with this spell.
Glacial Path is used for escaping, chasing, and burst. Since it allows Lissandra to teleport through walls, she can use it to escape out of desperation, or to close the gap between her and an injured enemy she is chasing down. Glacial Path also makes for a good ganking ability if you choose to play her like an AP Carry. Glacial Path from the bushes and onto your opponent then unload on them with other spells before they know what hit them.
Frozen Tomb is Lissandra's ultimate and like her other spells, it also has several potential uses. She can cast Frozen Tomb to encase herself in ice and become invulnerable for 2.5 seconds. The ice branches out in an area of effect around her which damages all enemies and slows their movement speed for several seconds. Alternatively, she can cast it directly on enemy to freeze them in a block of ice, dealing magic damage and stunning them for 1.5 seconds. They can still be hurt while inside the ice (which doesn't really make sense considering this same ice makes her invulnerable when cast on herself). The ice branches out from around that enemy and will hurt other enemies in the area of effect as well as slow their movement speed.
At max level, the cooldown on Frozen Tomb becomes as low as 80 seconds so using it frequently is definitely a good tactic.
Although best played as a support, players should still focus on buying items that significantly raise her AP. Sorcerer's Shoes are obviously a must for any mage. You should get Rod of Ages as early as possible to maximize its effect. Rabadon's Deathcap is another core item for the massive AP increase it gives.
After that, purchase items that will both increase your AP and help you defensively. Zhonya's Hourglass is an awesome item for Lissandra because its activated ability can be combined with her ult. If Lissandra gets into trouble, she can pop Zhonya's Hourglass and cast Glacial Tomb on herself to make her invincible for a total of five seconds. This should be plenty of time for her teammates to help pull her out of the fire.
One good core item for Lissandra support players is Abyssal Scepter since it will lower the magic resistance of nearby enemies. Athene's Unholy Grail is another underrated item that is great for Lissandra when playing support. It will keep her mana full and the hefty cooldown reduction doesn't hurt either.
If you are playing against a team full of tanks (as you usually do in Dominion games), Deathfire Grasp might be a better option.
Lissandra is best bottom lane on Summoner's Rift. She can also go mid-lane if needed. In Dominion, many players are tempted to tell her to go bot but that is the worst place she could possibly go. She has a lot of crowd control so having her face one opponent is a waste. Ring of Frost and Glacial Tomb will help win lots of team fights. Lissandra should definitely go top on Dominion.
Players should try to level up her abilities evenly since they really draw their strength from the synergy they have with one another. Just because Lissandra is a support doesn't mean you shouldn't go for kills with her. She's different from other supports like Soraka and Sona in that she has the potential to deal lots of damage herself. This makes her a lot more dangerous and fun to play. Playing pure support can get boring and you are relying on your teammate being skilled enough to make use of the help you're giving them. Lissandra doesn't need to rely on teammates as heavily and can get the job done herself if need be. Simply turning the battlefield into a sheet of ice is worth spending the 6,300 IP on.