TL;DR (or the "I’m in game and need a quick look" section)
Boots of Swiftness or Mercury Treads
Nashor’s Tooth or Death Fire Grasp
Situational Items (Veil, Void Staff, or Zhonya’s)
Q E E W E R Then R > Q > E > W
... and shroom a lot ...
This is a guide for, you guessed it, a Teemo that doesn’t focus on investing 10,000 gold to become a third-tier physical carry. This guide isn’t AD. None of his skills synergize with AD or crit%, and he has a lower range than other, better-suited, DPSs. Play him however you want, of course, just focus on fun rather than winning.
This guide prioritizes
Cool Down Reduction = Magic Penetration > AP > Survivability
About the author
Not a pro. I’ve got about 380 wins, many of which are from a long time ago (I spent awhile playing other games after I realized I took this game too seriously and wasn’t enjoying it). Now I play a game or two a day, and I’m having fun. Anyway, that’s all said to let you know a little about who is giving you advice…
Why am I prioritizing stats the way I am? (CDR = MPEN > AP > Survivability)
Cooldown Reduction (CDR)
Helpful for almost all champs, but required for this Teemo and his play style. With the latest patch (October, 2010), his mushroom skill is orders of magnitude more efficient. A simple queue for shrooms would have been enough, but on top of that you can place them in quick succession and you start each life with 2. Why is the queue so important? Not one second of wasted time. Before, if you could place 20 mushrooms in 10 minutes, every second you spent off cool down was reducing the total number of shrooms in play. Now you don’t waste any potential shroomage until you are holding three. Surely you can find a place for one before that happens.
I’m not going to waste more of your time with the mathcrafting, but suffice it to say that the difference between 0% CDR and 40% CDR is 27 or 45 level 3 mushrooms on the field at any one time. This is a big difference in the amount of map control/awareness for your team, and at 700 base damage a pop, this is a lot more damage potential.
Magic Penetration (MPEN)
A level three mushroom’s base damage is 700, and it scales at .8 damage per AP. When is magic penetration better than AP? If your AP ratio is low, or your base damage is high. Why? Because AP adds flat damage, while MPEN adds % damage. If your base damage is 1, adding 10 is better than adding 10%. If your base damage is 1000, adding 10% is better than adding 10.
Again, I’ve crunched numbers I’m not going to bore you with, but you’re better off spending money on 20 MPEN before AP in almost any likely scenario. The more magic resist the enemy team has, the more MPEN you want to buy. In general, buy the Haunting Guise, and if the other side is stacking MR, buy a void staff.
It’s important to add that at least the first 20 item-based MPEN helps your blinding shot more than the equivalent $ amount of AP would as well.
Ability Power (AP)
Yes, 1000 damage on your mushroom is greater than 700. I did some serious math crafting to confirm, but again, I won’t bore you with it. Anyway, AP has obvious synergy with Teemo’s skills. One that bears a little extra attention is his poison passive. While focusing on Teemo’s skills (and mainly his mushroom), the icing on the cake is that our auto attacks, and thus DPS is increased. This damage does not crit of course, so attack speed synergizes, but not crit chance. This build won’t get you to 1000 shrooms unless the game is really long (and you buy additional AP items not listed). Most of the AP you pick up will be a side effect of the acquiring your other stats.
Teemo is squishy, and he plays hit and run games. We aren’t investing enough gold to change his play style, but enough to make him a little safer at it.
Magic Penetration Reds
Dodge Yellows (I run these for all champs because they’re decent and IP doesn’t grow on trees)
Mana Regen per lvl blues
Flat Health Quints
We are going to focus a lot of our pre-game choices on mana regen because we want to harass constantly. The others are pretty basic and explain themselves.
Exhaust is an excellent complement to Teemo’s blind skill (Q). With good CDR, you can blind, exhaust, and blind again. This combo on their carry is one of Teemo’s primary contributions to a team fight (sadly). This combo is probably the reason why the recent patch lowered the blind time, but who knows.
Flash fits with the hit and run play style. It’s good to get the above combo off in a team fight. It’s better to get it off and live. Flash also has tons of other uses covered in countless other guides. It’s good.
Teleport. You can teleport to mushrooms, which opens up a lot of options. Lane changing for a good harassment match up is good. Further, once you have high map awareness, high mobility is a good compliment. You can get behind retreating champions. You can quickly steal buffs. If a few other champions have teleport, even better. In solo q, stick with flash.
Offensive Tree: you want CDR, Improved Exhaust, and MPEN.
Utility: again with the CDR, but also meditation (mana regen), improved speed, and improved flash.
Consider CDR and MPEN already explained, and improving our masteries is self-explanatory. Teemo has high base move speed, and thus benefits from the move speed mastery more than most. Mana regen is nearly required because of Teemo’s harassment play style, not to mention the focus on dropping lots of shrooms.
Skill order (explained in a little more detail in the how to play section):
Q E E W E R Then R > Q > E > W
Core item build
If you understand the “essence” of this build, feel free to mix and match to perfect what works for you. As with any well-played champion, item builds are largely dependent on the other team. You need to understand all the champions, not just your own, and that only comes with time (helps if you play them of course – play that 6300 champ when he/she is free a few games. If nothing else, it will help you learn how they work.)
Ability Tome + health pot
This is why we’ve invested into mana regen in runes and masteries. The amount of harassment Teemo is capable of really does make the extra AP pay off, and you can rush guise. With guise first, you get some HP early, but most importantly, the 20 mpen will have a big impact on the first shrooms you plant as your enemies’ MR will be low (probably base). The downside is you don’t really have any extra survivability. This may be difficult for some players, and even experienced players will run into the double stun, hard harass match up.
Alternative Starting items
Meki pendent + 2 health pots (or even Doran’s Ring + Pot)
Meki builds into fiendish codex (AP, CDR, mana regen), and solves your mana problems. Nearly unlimited harass. The extra pot provides a little safer start. I’m not going to trash talk doran’s ring if you need it, either. In the big scheme of things, it has no wasted stats, and the gold won’t slow you down that much.
First trip back
Guise/Codex (whichever you choose) + boots 1
Teemo’s main means of surviving is movement, thus the boots. Codex and Guise are both cheap items with no wasted stats for this build. You’re building both anyway.
Now it’s time to finish boots, and the enemy team will be taken into account for this decision, as well as all subsequent item choices.
The boots you want: boots of swiftness. This with mastery and Move Quick (W) will make you the annoying yordle you’re supposed to be.
The boots you often have to take: mercury treads. Let’s face it, there is a lot of CC out there, and these are often necessary. HOWEVER, I’m always tempted to run swiftness and banshee’s veil every game where I need treads. Haven’t done a lot of testing, so we’ll stick with the general wisdom here.
Honorable mention: boots of mobility. I don’t get them, but I won’t tell you they’re bad either. Again, map awareness + mobility is a good thing. Moving around the jungle planting shrooms is what we do. Swiftness is simply better all around in my opinion. Imagine how frustrating it would be to fly around with Move Quick and the Mobility boost to lose it all when you need it most.
The “don’t be tempted by these” boots: sorcerers shoe’s. If you need more than 20 MPEN, odds are you are better off with a void staff. I feel like I’m saying this a lot, but I really did crunch some numbers. Squishy champs (mostly) sit at 30 MR. 20 MPEN is the sweet spot for them. Tank champs that buy a single MR Item will likely have >70 MR, which is when the staff will start penetrating more than the boots. (In reality, that’s not true due to your runes and mastery, but your time is precious). The point is, the other boots offer so much, and these boots offer so little to the over all Teemo package.
How to fill out the rest of your build
Make a decision on what codex becomes (Nashor’s Tooth or Death Fire Grasp). If the team is high HP, go with DFG. More squish, Nashor’s. DFG is up every minute, meaning just about every team fight. In a perfect world, you want to save it to open up on a carry or something like that, but I don’t mind blowing it on the high hp melee dps or even the tank if that is all that’s available. Better to use it then hold it for the right moment the entire game. With enough MPEN, even the tank will feel it. On the other hand, Nashor’s gives excellent CDR, meaning more shrooms. Further, it increases your attack speed, which helps your poison damage. It’s a good choice against squishier teams. First, they actually can feel your attacks, and second, shrooms destroy them so more = better.
From here, I think I can narrow down your choices to three items: Zhonya’s Ring, Void Staff, and Banshee’s Veil. It depends on the enemy team. The good news is, you’ll be far enough into the game that you will be well-informed before you have to make this choice. They are all solid items, and in a long game you may even decide that all three are a good idea, but what comes first?
Simple. Are you getting targeted first in team fights or having a hard time staying alive? Veil. Not only does the spell block have obvious usefulness, but if you’re the only one of the team with one, guess who they aren’t going to target? Just a caution, once you face stronger teams that coordinate, this is less true. You may even feel the need to move catalyst up in the build order if you are having trouble surviving the lane phase (or you think you will).
Is the enemy team stacking MR? Void staff. The more they stack, the harder this little guy works for you. It also gives AP, meaning that it’s probably worth getting even if only 1 or 2 are stacking MR.
If neither of these are true, go for the zhonya’s. Every single mushroom is now a real threat. The active is OK, but 90% of the time people turn golden when the team fight is decided and folks just sit idly and kill you when you’ve finished your Midas impersonation (the other 10% is a Kennen initiation).
How to play this build
Even with the proper play style, you are still not going to single-handedly roll over the other team. What you can do, is actually be a solid contribution to the team, and more importantly, have fun doing it. I’m also going to include a section just on mushrooms.
You’ll hear different people say different things, but I’d say grab blind first. It’s an extra 80 damage, and given the amount of auto attacks in any early fighting, the blind is helpful. Blind + Exhaust doubly so. If nothing else, you can get one of the champs in the 2v2 to turn and run for a few seconds. Congrats you win.
While laning, use blind and an auto attack every chance you get. Seriously. Keep enough mana in reserve for an emergency blind if it get’s messy, but otherwise use it every chance you get. This is incredibly effective. The effect on weak laners will be ridiculously obvious, but let’s take Garen, who has his built in heal. Your poison last for 4 seconds, meaning he has to wait 11 seconds to begin the healing process. This is a significant reduction in its effectiveness, and yes, you can push him around and zone him out (at least for awhile).
Zoning is an important concept (covered well by others), but I’ll highlight it here for Teemo simply because it’s integral. Take your standard 2v2 situation. The game starts: make your first purchases quickly and head to lane. Sit in the outer bushes as close to your tower as possible (unless you and partner choose to be more aggressive), and go invisible. The reasoning is simple: you don’t want them to take early control of the bush. Once they show themselves, you simply pop out of the bush and smack em with a blind and possibly some auto attacks. Head immediately back to bush. Repeat this process, once you’ve got poison at level 2, it’s much more effective. That’s the basics, now the more important part.
Make sure you and your partner are not auto attacking. Last hit only! You want to keep the action in neutral territory for many reasons, but once you establish lane dominance, you are going hang out in THEIR bush. Continue with the ‘ol in-out-in-out until you’ve sufficiently separated them from the action. They lose XP and Gold. If you push them to their tower, they only lose gold. Further, it may just be my ELO, but you’ll be surprised how many players will get frustrated and do something stupid – netting you an easy kill.
The Mushroom Section
If you can’t pick a gold card under pressure, you’re a bad Twisted Fate. If you can’t effectively place mushrooms, you’re a bad Teemo. I’ll provide the basics, and either the more advanced ideas come to you, or I’ll always be a better Teemo than you. (Don’t worry, they aren’t hard to figure out and will come to you).
At level 6 – Your first mushroom
90% of the time, the first shroom goes into the river bush. 10 minutes of gank prevention is great. If you’re having trouble maintaining lane dominance by this point, shroom the outer bushes instead. In this case, I like their bush, but closest to our tower. From here on, the goal is to shroom the inner and outer edges of the lane. Whether fleeing or ganking, it all happens on the edges, not the middle. Further, shrooms in the middle will probably just be set off by minions. From here out, shroom it all, but prioritize.
Rough Shroom priorities during laning phase
Each end of both outer bushes (4 shrooms total)
2 Additional shrooms evenly spaced in river entrance
The opening in the lane near your tower
On the outer wall a little in front of your tower
Inner wall of lane near your tower
This will keep you busy to start, but the result is that you’ve guarded every approach and you have complete control of your lane. You’ve even got tower divers covered. If you’ve got all these placed, do what you need to. Shroom dragon, near their tower, or the middle of the lane to keep them from pushing (if you’re leaving for a bit), etc.
The end result is the least-recognized contribution of Teemo to the game – starving two enemy champs, and possibly killing them a couple of times as a bonus. With that said, you are going to run across matchups where this is simply not possible. If you can get a switch to a better situation, you and your team would be WELL served, but in solo q, it can be tough to get.
Mid- and Late-Game Shrooming
First, don’t ever hold three shrooms in your bag. I’d rather you place it ANYWHERE (other than your fountain) than hold it – With that said, the main purpose will be to limit mobility. Any and all choke points deserve a shroom. Obviously, you want to focus shrooming the area around the action, but the baron, dragon, and all buffs deserve a shroom when you can to act as wards. Again, when in lanes, focus on the edges.
During a push, the goal is to protect your team as you push. Think of it like digging a mine – Teemo is the one building the supports to keep the walls from collapsing. As you push, shroom the access points to the lane. Block everything. The second priority, especially late game, is to start putting down shrooms in the middle of the lane to prevent or slow counter pushes. This is also a good idea in the lanes not seeing any action. No one likes to hear that minions have taken their top tower.
Oracle's Elixer (Thanks to ImDerek for pointing out this missing section)
(Updated 11/4/2010 - Mushroom's no longer give gold to their killer)
Once you see the other team tagging your shrooms, placement priorities need to change. Obviously, you can't leave them out in the open, but must place them on the edges of brush. The good news is, there are still more places to put your shrooms than you have time for, so your effectiveness is on marginally lower.
On the other hand, the team will need to buy oracles, and if you can't make them buy multiples, it wasn't the oracle’s that beat you. That means multiple 450 gold investments, and now that mushrooms don't reward the other team with gold when killed, this is even more noticeable and will slow item progression. More often, people don't buy the oracle's unless your shrooming becomes a problem for them (ie it has swung a fight or two in your direction). They pick up the elixer and clear a few of the shrooms you have in the open. Your shrooms go in the bush, and they stop buying oracle's. That cycle repeats.
I do not consider Oracle's a hard counter to mushrooms.
Minor Strat to Mention: Jungling – drop shrooms at the wraiths and wolves even if they aren’t there. If you’ve got the damage, they’ll die when they spawn. You need more damage then you think, though. since you aren’t there, they begin healing after taking damage.
Most of the time, you know when it’s coming. Hold two shrooms. When the location has been determined, drop one in the middle of your team’s “side”. Next, look to blind/exhaust the carry, but finally, if safe, drop the second shroom right in the action (or as near as you can). No, most of the time people don’t stop doing what they do in a team fight to drop the mushroom – especially given that most Teemos are AD, and their shrooms are pitiful. Your single mushroom, on the other hand, can have a huge effect. Level three shrooms have large blast radii. You’re going to hit multiple targets. Mass slow, and in your average game, your shroom will knock off huge chunks of any squishy’s HP. If your team begins to run, or didn’t fully commit and begins to dance backwards, hitting that first shroom you dropped will often trigger the second engagement (the one where you slaughter them).
Teemo isn’t useless in teamfights, but the above leaves a lot lacking. If it takes place in an area you haven’t pre-gamed, that’s all you can expect. If you’ve had time to sow your oats on the other hand, you will cause mass hysteria and wipe outs. The moral, then, is to pre-game as many places as possible, and for your team to stick to those areas.
That's it, I hope I was able to provide even a small amount of useful information. I hope you got something from it, but I fully expect this to just turn into an AD vs AP argument.