Tier 1: Teleport
With the current meta being focus around diving bot lane, it’s important for a top laner to show some sort of presence on the map. Teleport also allows Teemo to apply pressure and become a real split push threat while Baron is alive. With Teleport, your laning phase is less volatile if you happen to be losing lane. If you make a mistake and lose a 1v1, teleport helps you recover by teleporting back to lane and fixing/catching the wave. Overall, teleport allows you to be more flexible with laning assignments, it helps you be an effective splitpusher, make/match plays bot lane and have a healthier laning phase.
Tier 1.5: Ignite
With the recent buffs to Ignite in Patch 8.6, Ignite is finally a decent choice if you choose to double down on the oppressive Teemo playstyle. The reason Teleport is still better than Ignite is due to the flexibility Teleport brings throughout the game; splitting bot lane without Teleport is a game losing play if your team doesn’t play around your splitpush properly (most elos don’t.) However, splitting isn’t the only viable playstyle Teemo players have; If you enjoy taking the assassin route, then try playing with ignite a few game as it will only enhance your playstyle.
Tier Everything Else
Before Frozen Mallet was nerfed, Ghost was actually a “viable” secondary due to allowing you to chase targets more effectvely, but now it’s simply isn’t good. Every other spell summoner spell is not a viable choice on Teemo.
Overall, take Teleport if you choose to split and Ignite only if you choose to play like an assassin. This does NOT mean you cannot play an assassin playstyle with Teleport and vice versa. Play towards your needs as a player. When in doubt, take Teleport.
Generally speaking you will always want to max E -> Q -> W every single game if you’re playing AP Teemo and max E -> W -> Q when playing On-hit Teemo. You wouldn’t Q max second on On-hit Teemo because there isn’t AP that’s amplfying your Q damage. With On-Hit Teemo, it’s more beneficial to kite with W maxed second than get a minor uptick in damage with Q maxed second. However, there are a few matchups where Q or W max/adjustment can prove to be beneficial.
When playing versus Riven, you actually want to take two points into Q instead of taking your second point in E when you hit level four; the extra .25 seconds, in theory, allows you to cancel 2 auto-attacks when she does her basic Q – AA – Q – AA combo. After taking your second point into Q, you can continue to Max E. Depending on the elo, the second Q point might be pointless if the Riven player is bad. You can also even Q max versus Pantheon and try to outpoke him by taking Doran’s Ring for the Mana Regeneration, which allows you to stay competitive in Q trades. IcyPhoenix has a great guide on how to win the infamous Pantheon matchup if you would like to learn more. With that said, the Pantheon player can definitely go for the all in, so the Q max strategy is not foolproof. Generally speaking, you will want to max Q second.
There are a few matchups where dodging/kiting the enemy laner effectively can win you your lane; this is where a few early points into W can come in handy. I personally like to take two, and sometimes even three, points into W when laning against Sion and Darius because kiting and dodging spells is vital in these matchups. However, this is a just a “safety net” playstyle; you can absolutely still have a successful lane versus Darius and Sion without taking the extra early points into W.
My Personal Ability Sequence
I personally go max E -> W -> Q every game regardless if I’m playing AP or On-hit Teemo; I believe having the extra tempo and presence on the map is more valuable than a bit more damage on your Q. However, this is my personal preference and by no means is maxing W second objectively better than maxing Q second.
Starting items are fluid when it comes to Teemo. Starting items are matchup dependent and allow you to both play to your strengths and counter enemy laners.
Tier 1: Doran’s Shield and Doran’s Ring.
In general, Doran’s Ring and Shield are Teemo’s best starting items. For decent matchups that don’t involve a receiving ton of poke, I suggest grabbing yourself a Doran’s Ring. However, if you’re laning against champions that are poke heavy, I highly recommend taking Doran’s Shield as it will allow you to stay in lane for longer periods of time and eventually poke out the enemy laner. It’s important to take into account the trading patterns of the enemy laner when choosing your starting item; for champions that rely less on poking Teemo down and more on all-ins, Doran’s Ring is your best bet; not only will you have the health pool for the all-in, but it also allows you to effectively poke them out. However, for sustaining from poke, Doran’s Shield would be your best choice.
Some champions are listed twice due to both choices either being good or dependent on your playstyle/build (i.e. Comet Nasus).
Tier 2: Cull
If you’re feeling frisky, then consider taking Cull. Only opt into taking Cull for matchups where you would take Doran’s Ring. You never want to take Cull into punishing matchups that require you to take Doran’s Shield; a Cull start is about safely getting away greed, not getting away with feed.
Tier 3: Null-Magic Mantle and Boots
In very specific matchups it’s sometimes beneficial to start with Null-Magic Mantle or Boots. You can be greedy and start Null-Magic Mantle if you intend on rushing Wit’s End against an AP laner that doesn’t poke you (Nautilus, Maokai, Singed etc.) Starting Boots can also be an option versus Darius if you need to avoid getting pulled in, but it isn’t optimal.
Teemo is especially unique from every other champion in the game; Teemo has more choices in terms of items and build paths than any other champion in League of Legends. In this section I will divide and sort the best items on Teemo when playing both AP and On-hit styles.
Tier 1 AP
Hextech Gunblade: Since the update of Hextech Gunblade back in Patch 5.22, Hextech Gunblade has allowed Teemo to have amazing sustain along with burst in one item. Gunblade also works as indirect tankiness; if you can heal 400hp in a 1v1, then you essentially had 400 extra HP that fight. If you can do without the sustain, then pick up an alternative.
Void Staff: Magic Penetration is Teemo’s bread and butter, so it’s no surprise to see Void Staff make an appearance here. Void Staff allows Teemo to hit like a truck. However, Void Staff is not a must have unless the enemy team has heavily stack Magic Resist.
Nashor’s Tooth: An item that deals magic on-hit damage along with 20% CDR is Teemo’s wet dream. This item in objectively good on Teemo for obvious reasons.
Liandry’s Torment: Another staple in Teemo’s AP loadout; this item is a must have when playing AP Teemo as it enhance s Teemo’s Shrooms.
Morellonomicon: With the recent addition of Magic Penetration and health in Morellonomicon, it kicks Deathcap to the curb and forces its way to becoming a Tier 1 item. Why? Magic Penetration on Teemo is far more valuiable than having flat AP.
Tier 1 On-Hit
Frozen Mallet: Gives Teemo a healthpool to work with while allowing him to stick on targets easier. You can’t ask for more in an item.
Wit’s End: Wit’s End is great because it’s cheap and synergizes well with Teemo’s kit. It’s hard to find greater item value for 2400 gold as it gives you a quick and early item spike vs AP champions.
Guinsoo’s Rageblade: Guinsoo’s Rageblade allows Teemo to become a legitimate threat by ignoring resists the enemy team has built. It’s great for split pushing, dueling, and works amazingly well with Teemo’s overall kit.
Runnan’s Hurricane: Runnan’s Hurricane is definitely up for debate when it comes to true Tier 1 items. Runnan’s not only allows you to become a poor man’s Kog’Maw, but it enables you to have insane tempo on the map while applying intense pressure in a split push situation. Tempo is invaluable and allows you to control the flow of the game. However, it get quite difficult to manipulate the game once you get to Diamond 5.
Sorcerer’s Boots: Not a must have item on AP Teemo, but if you can afford to get Sorcerer’s boots, then definitely pick them up. Teemo abuses Magic Penetration too well. However, it is a bit greedy when compared to its defensive alternatives.
Ninja Tabi: My personal choice 90% of games. Even with recent nerfs, Ninja Tabi are too cost-efficient to pass up.
Mercury’s Treads: If you’re against high amounts of CC or 4 AP champions, then Mercury’s Treads are your best friend.
Boots of Swiftness: Definitely a niche choice, especially if you enjoy being annoying and splitpushing; it is viable, but the passive of the alternatives are simply superior.
Secondary Viable AP Items
Lich Bane: Has it’s place versus squishier comps or if you’re looking to play an assassin playstyle.
Rabadon’s Deathcap: Although Deathcap is core for traditional AP Champions, Magic Penetration is more valuable than getting more AP. It’s a great last item, but not a core item.
Zhonya’s Hourglass: It’s a viable “get out of jail free card” if you choose to go AP Teemo and are against assassins. I’d personally rather have a health item against an assassin as it is consistently more reliable and flat stats don’t have cooldowns.
Banshee’s Veil: A great item against AP heavy team comps; highly recommended versus heavy AP comps.
Rod of Ages: A debatable Teemo Item. I would only build RoA if you plan on going Grasp of the Undying Teemo.
Luden’s Echo: A viable last item if you need to cap to 40% cooldown reduction. Every other Tier 1 AP item is more valuable than Luden’s, so build this as a 4th/5th/6th item if you are in need of cooldown reduction.
Spellbinder: A new item that definitely needs some testing. In theory, it’s an amazing assassin item that also gives movement speed; it’s everything Teemo wants. Will update in the future.
Phantom Dancer: A dueler’s wet dream. If you need to beat Fiora at her own splitpush game, consider going the Grasp of the Undying build and rushing Phantom Dancer. Enjoy auto-winning lane.
Blade of the Ruined King: Although it is an amazing on-hit item, I don’t believe it is core. There are definitely games where BoRK isn’t needed. Core on-hit items either provide utility or are amazingly cost efficient. BoRK is simply a great damage item that does…. damage?
Nashor’s Tooth: I would only build Nashor’s Tooth if you already have Guinsoo’s Rageblade as they synergize very well together.
Hextech Gunblade: Hextech Gunblade is viable once you have both Rageblade and Gunblade. I suggest staying away until then as it’s okay decent in this build till then.
Mecurial Scimitar: If you’re against hard crowd control and need to deal consistent DPS in order to win fights, then Merc Scim should be in your inventory sooner rather than later.
Viable Tank Items
Frozen Heart: When running the Grasp of the Undying build , Frozen Heart allows you to reach 40% cooldown reduction while being able to face tank heavy attack damage. If you need 40% cooldown reduction versus an AP heavy team, take Nashor’s Tooth and Frozen Heart out of the grasp build and replace them with Bashee’s Veil and Spirit Visage.
Spirit Visage: A viable, decent magic resist item. If enhanced healing doesn’t come in handy, consider taking Abyssal Mask or Adaptive Helm
Abyssal Mask: A decent magic resist item versus AP champions that like to get a bit too close (Fuck you, Akali)
Adaptive Helm: Comes in handy versus AP DPS champions. However, Teemo is weak against AP DPS champions unless you can get your burst off. It’s probably bad.
Randuin’s Omen: A great choice against crit-based AD team comps (kindred, yasuo, caitlyn etc.), but I personally enjoy Frozen Heart’s CDR a bit more, especially if you already have a health pool from other AP items.
Zz’Rot Portal: A very niche item that is especially good if you plan on split pushing and delaying the game; yes, delaying the game by split pushing with Runnan’s and Zz’rot is a legit strategy that works in high elo.
Shurelya’s Reverie: An amazing cost efficent AP item. Needs more testing and statistics. Will adjust in the future.
Dead Man’s Plate: Another niche armor item; I understand the logic behind bulding Dead Man’s Plate, but the stats and movement speed do not justify the cost. You move quick enough with W. Deadman’s is simply overkill.
Warmog’s Armor: With the rework of AP items, there isn’t really a need for excessive health. It’s a nice health item, but Spirit Visage or Randuins are far superior tank items.
Gaurdian’s Angel: A decent armour item if you’re playing with an On-Hit build and happen to be playing against a lot of AD champions; clearly very situational.