Hello everyone, I'm Drewmatth, a Master Taliyah OTP on EUNE, Taliyah Only Youtuber & Creator of the most viewed Taliyah Guide on Lolking, here with an in-depth guide about this champion <my way of playing her> & lots of information that I gathered since her launch to the present day.
How did I get here? How did I climb?
In every season that I've vastly progressed in Elo (S2 unranked S3->S6 Diamond -> S7 Master) I've found 1 or 2 champions and I've tried to gather as much information about them as I could. (Season 3 was Pantheon & Anivia , and until now, I also mained Aurelion Sol & Bard, then I switched to Taliyah). As you can notice from this I'm highly interested in Roaming Champions, in particular, champions that has the ability to help others. I've found that was my fastest ticket to climb easily in Elo & I encourage anyone who doesn't play a roaming champion to at least try them out. In this guide I will put the [ADVANCED] tag for the paragraphs that are meant for the players that already know pretty well how Taliyah works & want to improve.
A comprehensive Taliyah Guide for beginners & advanced
Since her launch I've played her almost everyday reaching Master in S6 for a while then now again in S7, every time I played I used a slightly different build than the traditional way. I am here to present my way & alternatives that I know that are also viable. I'm going to present a way to play Taliyah that can actually help beginners MORE than the other ways.
So..what is it? You might ask..
In Season 7 I climbed from D5 to D1 in about 14 days just because I focused on a single playstyle. This playstyle I also recommend to anyone who wants to pick Taliyah right now with zero knowledge (or advanced players also). I will provide below my knowledge on this particular setup AND alternatives. I strongly recommend to try my way first without the alternatives.
I simply use every game the following (perhaps complex) setup:
A) Summoner Spells - Exhaust / Flash.
B) Runes - Mpen Reds / HP/level Yellows / CDR/level + AP/level blues (use how many you want here , I use 4 and 5 ) and +AP quints.
C) Masteries - Thunderlords 12/18/0 - I've explained in my guide on Lolking every single choice here. The summary is that I basicly focus on full damage, not on CDR or mana regen.
D) Build - Doran+2 Rings->Catalyst->Tier 1 boots->GLP->Rilay-> Sorc (or Tabis or Merc) Boots -> Rabbadon's -> Void Staff->Situational Item (Replace this with Liandry/Zhonya/Void Staff/etc) depending on your needs.
E) Combos ( included down below in the why [THIS BUILD] section.
F) Carry Potential.
There's too much to write for the E-H sections so I will just come back later in this post, because I first need to add more detail to the first 4 sections in order to move to the next 4.
A) Why [These summoner spells] ?
Exhaust is the best choice for beginners because:
i) it's the strongest damage repellant spell;
ii) it provides assist on ganking with your R;
iii) helps enormously , more than any other spells besides TP in teamfights;
iv) helper towards your W->E->Q combo;
v) Combined with GLP offers TWO free combos on the enemy target (will come back at this at builds);
Alternative : Ghost / Flash - provides assistance extra assistance in roaming / chases / teamfights.
B) Why [ These Runes ] ?
They provide the highest amount of damage WITH some CDR (as you can see my build provides close to none);
Alternative: MS quints instead of AP.
C) Why [ These Masteries ] ?
Thunderlord is key mastery for this champion and Deathfire Touch doesn't work at all;
[ADVANCED] Alternative: Stormraider's Surge. Combined with Ghost provides a huge movement speed burst in close fights, ganks and teamfights.
D) i) Why [ This Build ] ?
Here comes the fun part. This build works the best for Taliyah in my opinion because it's the only one which provides a COMBO TRIGGER. What do I mean by Combo Trigger? The GLP Active.
Taliyah in this way has 2 Combo Triggers if we think about the Exhaust & GLP. You would ideally want to use GLP -> W->E -> Q, back a little off, wait for W,E to come back up again -> Exhaust -> W ->E -> Q.
Taliyah's main problem is that against good players it is basicly impossible to hit your W->E combo BEFORE Rilay's because it's waaay too predictable and easy-to-dodge compared to other champions.
I chose this and now I am no longer fearful against nasty Master/Challenger players that I don't have my combo enabled and I can simply just fight them pre-6 without any fear (due to exhaust) and also post-6 (due to exhaust and GLP - remember, always fight when you have your exhaust up. You don't have an ultimate that deals damage so you have a natural spell disadvantage against most champions).
[ADVANCED] I sometimes finish tier 2 boots after Rabbadon's. Why? The 800 gold deficit on buying tier 2 boots gives enough time for the enemy adc/support to get more tanky and get ahead. In most games when I'm just a bit ahead in gold I finish Rabbadon's first then simply catch their Top/Bot / Bot+Support alone and solo kill them.
If you are in huge gold deficit, consider Liandry instead of Rabbadon's 3rd item.
ii) Why [Catalyst first] ?
Because it provides enough hp/mana so you can safely push the wave at 6 and rush bot to help your team.
iii) Why [Linadry/Void Staff so late] ?
Because I consider Rabbadon's above Liandry or Void staff in terms of 3rd item. At the time you finish Rabbadon's it would probably be mid game. Liandry/Void Staff is most useful in Late Game. Without Rabbadon's 3rd Item I always struggle to instantly kill their ADC/Mid/Support with my GLP->W->E->Q combo when I catch them off-position (YES, Taliyah HAS BURST TO 100-0 SOMEONE if you BUILD RIGHT & Exhaust at the right time! You don't have to be super fed for it! ).
Alternative: The Morello Build which you see listed basicly on every Taliyah resource & statistic. I am against this build for beginners because while it offers CDR , it does not offer the HP that the other item does. Taliyah thrives on extra hp because she most of the time TANKS at least half of her HP when she engages in teamfights with her R.
E) Combos - Included Above;
F) Carry Potential?
Taliyah CANNOT carry a game BY HERSELF. She needs to pass SOME kills to either ADC/TOP/Bruiser Jungler. I always encourage my toplaner to pick bruiser top (Jax/Irelia/Camille/Fiora/ETC) , or jungler (Shaco/Hecarim/ETC) or hypercarry ADC (Draven/Kog), because I pass kills to these guys and I actively help them with my ganks (or at least I make my goal to help them). I personally hate to have Lee Sin jungle because it contradicts with the entire Taliyah philosophy and most of the time I lose when I have one and get to late game.
Your goal post 6 is to gank either bot or top , or to help your jungler gank these lanes , either by walking there or ulting. I have on my Lolking guide 2 pictures in which I provide gank paths, I've also made 2 videos on my youtube channel to teach about ganking and gank paths, it's honestly hard to describe this without live game play & vizualization.
G) What are some of the [Hardest Matchups] ?
Some would say assassins are a pain to deal with, but I am against that statement. With this build & Exhaust you have enough hp to deal post 6 with any assassin. No one obliges you to fight them, so the best counter against these is simply to roam- and roam better than them. Most assassins are countered by FLASH so learn what their main ability is & time it properly. If you face an assassin think where and when the enemy jungler will gank you to burn your flash and avoid that, it's predictable if you think it before the game starts & notice where the enemy jungler starts & use wards properly.
Therefore, hardest match-ups are midlaners that play with TP and know how and when to use it (example Kassadin/Ori), GP/Shen that sometimes stop you in your path, and obviously - good Aurelion Sol/TF players (because they are similar to you as a kit). Theoretically you should be able to easily beat the A Sol, TF players because your kit provides a lot more burst than theirs.
Where next.. ?
If you find passion in this champion the same way I did, pick her, go to the practice tool, understand her kit, then jump on normals & do some games, see how you do with this way of playing her.
In order to learn/master Taliyah and to freely climb the ladder, you have to practice THREE things:
1) Map Awareness - to understand WHEN and HOW to R, some of my videos could get in handy here;
2) How to perfectly use R (here the practice tool does wonders , go and work on it);
3) How to use your combo (again, USE THE PRACTICE TOOL!).
I used my Guide & My /r/taliyahmains posts & comments as a basis for this guide , hope I didn't miss anything and if I did please tell me.
If you found this guide useful, a subscribe on youtube or a like on the Lolking Guide would mean the world to me, since I'm trying to create a larger audience on both (and I feel pretty bad for asking).
I am here to answer any further questions in your path to climb with this beautiful champion, I am also on /r/taliyahmains if you ever need to find me.
Thank you for reading this!