This League of Legends Season 10 Ultimate Poppy guide is the only guide that you will need in order to play Poppy Top. This guide will include builds, combos, counters, synergies, keystones, and runes.
Poppy was a lost yordle without any vision that found a path to take. While yordles use extraordinary magic to do things, she was astounded by how Orlon, a commanding officer, led his army with vigor. Every word he spoke brought courage to the souls of everyone. Soon, Poppy became a devoted follower of the wielder of the hammer. Orlon passed the hammer to Poppy on his deathbed, telling her the true story of the weapon. Now she yearns to keep her promise and deliver the hammer to the Hero of Demacia, not knowing she might be the one she has been seeking for so long.
This guide was written by our team of writers along with the help of Challenger player, Topopotamus, who is an expert in everything Poppy. He is considered by many to be the best in the world at this champion and you can find him streaming on Twitch.
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Poppy Overview Infographic
We put together a Poppy overview infographic that has the best builds, runes, strengths, weaknesses, combos, skill orders, counters, synergies and anything else that you need to quickly learn the basics of Poppy. Make sure to share with your friends and check back here to get the latest updates. We will be updating this infographic as changes happen so check back often!
Who is Topopotamus
Charlie Uram, 22 years of age. Currently playing with the summoner name Topopotamus. He has over 683 k mastery points on Poppy and he peaked at 630 LP in North American Challenger. He has a KDA ratio of 2.92:1 with a 70% win rate, and he played over 940 ranked games since season 6 with the Keeper of the Hammer. His friends introduced him to League of Legends in late season 1. At first, it was all fun and games for him. He started playing League seriously towards the end of season 7 because he started playing for his university’s team. This opportunity gave him the drive to smack and drop opponents with Poppy’s weapon. He now joins the Rift wielding the power of the hero of Demacia.
Table of Contents
Why Play Poppy
Before we start on the Ultimate Guide to Poppy, we first want to tell you why you should play her. Her overall strengths and weaknesses are as follows:
- Versatile. Can dive or peel.
- Does a lot of damage even when building full tank.
- Very strong counter-pick. Wins very hard in the right matchups.
- Her ultimate, when used correctly, can give a numbers advantage to win close fights.
- There are a ton of champions that are dependent on dashes, and Poppy is able to shut them down with her W.
- Requires flanks or large mispositions by enemies to engage fights (no easy engage, unlike most tanks).
- Benefits much more from armor than magic resist, so itemization can be difficult against teams with mixed damage.
- Has a lot of resistances thanks to her W’s passive, but not as much HP as other tanks, so true damage rips her up.
- Hard to blind-pick. Has a lot of less-than-ideal matchups.
These champions give Poppy top a hard time in-game, due to having a kit that can stop Poppy from doing what she wants to do. Here are some of the biggest issues and how you can try to overcome the challenges they bring.
Darius is considered a counter, as it is difficult for Poppy to face the Noxian commander because of her short-range abilities. He is able to get on you pretty easily. Once he gets you, he just runs you over with his abilities. Try to avoid prolonged fights against him and wait for your ultimate. If he uses his E (Apprehend) to pull you, you can hit him with your R (Keeper’s Verdict) to throw him away because he can’t disrupt it anymore.
Gangplank is considered a counter because Poppy can’t deal with his barrels efficiently. The only way for you to really deal with his barrels is with your passive (Iron Ambassador). But once it is down, it is pretty easy for Gangplank to bombard you with his abilities again. Stunning GP doesn't really do anything, because he can just use his W (Remove Scurvy) and negate it. GP scales really well, and you can’t really punish him in the lane. Instead of forcing it, try and make plays in other places.
Olaf is considered a counter because he is able to run you down like Darius. Once he hits level 6, he activates R (Ragnarok), charges towards you throwing his Q (Undertow) multiple times, and strikes with his E (Reckless Swing) to constantly damage you. On top of that, he uses W (Vicious Strikes) to speed up his basic attacks and regain health. You don’t really have an option but to avoid facing him head-on.
These champions work well with Poppy and should be considered being picked alongside her if possible. Here are some of the biggest synergies and how you can abuse them.
Jarvan IV works well with Poppy because as soon as he uses his R (Cataclysm), it gives you a free stun on whoever is in Jarvan’s ultimate. After you use your stun, you can quickly activate W (Steadfast Presence) to make sure they don’t get out of Jarvan IV’s ultimate without using Flash.
Yuumi works well with Poppy because her E (Zoomies) can give Poppy movement speed and heal, making her harder to kill. Poppy will then be able to tank for her allies and position aggressively with the help of Yuumi’s R (Final Chapter).
Pyke works well with Poppy because he can set up nice plays for her. His Q (Bone Skewer) is a great way to hook enemies towards you and set up your E (Heroic Charge) for a stun. With the ability to assist you and assassinate targets, Pyke can use his ultimate (Death from Below). Between you and Pyke, you have enough damage to burst most people.
Poppy Summoner Spells
Poppy’s recommended summoner spells are Teleport and Flash. Teleport is nice for her, as it allows you to impact the rest of the map and get sick flanks to start fights or catch people running away. It also lets you answer split-pushers later and you’re still able to join your team in fights. Flash helps you get in the right position to make sure you stun your target with your E (Heroic Charge). It can also help you reposition if you need to block enemies with your W (Steadfast Presence).
Poppy Runes and Keystones
Poppy’s recommended runes are Grasp of the Undying, Demolish, Second Wind, and Overgrowth on Resolve as primary, and Biscuit Delivery with Time Warp Tonic on Inspiration as secondary. You trade a lot when playing Poppy, so Grasp of the Undying offers good sustain and you can combine it with your passive (Iron Ambassador) to harass people while sustaining yourself. Demolish allows you to snowball your lead when you manage to push an enemy out of the lane. It will make sure you can get a plate or two. It can also be used with your passive if the enemy is just standing near the tower, as you can proc it from a safe range with your passive. Second Wind helps sustain in lane, and Bone Plating isn’t worth it because nothing can burst you, and don’t take Conditioning because Poppy’s defenses are already high thanks to her W’s (Steadfast Presence) passive. Overgrowth helps you to be a bit tankier, while Biscuit Delivery allows you to spam more abilities in the lane and keep Time Warp Tonic running for longer. Time Warp Tonic is great combined with a Corrupting Potion start, as it gives you movement speed to get the right position to play fights and trade.
If you are having a hard time proccing your Grasp of the Undying, then you can use Aftershock, Demolish, Second Wind, and Overgrowth on Resolve as primary, and Biscuit Delivery with Time Warp Tonic on Inspiration as secondary. You’ll then focus on casting your abilities to pop enemies with your main keystone instead of sustained fights.
Both builds will use stat runes of +9 adaptive force and 2 armor/magic resist, depending on the matchup.
Poppy’s recommended items change depending on the situation, however, the following items will give you a good idea of what to build in different situations.
Poppy starts with Corrupting Potion because it offers great sustain in the lane for both mana and HP.
Sunfire Cape is core on Poppy because it is a very strong item that gives armor and HP, which are the stats Poppy wants. She is also able to do a lot of damage by proccing it with her E (Heroic Charge). As soon as you get Bami’s Cinder, you can stand by the wave to charge up your Grasp of the Undying keystone and use your passive (Iron Ambassador) to do a lot of damage. In a lot of matchups, go Bami’s Cinder first, but then get a Bramble Vest before you finish Sunfire Cape.
Bramble Vest / Thornmail is core on Poppy against laners that want to auto-attack a lot (e.g. Sett, Fiora, Jayce, etc.). If the enemy composition is primarily AD, upgrade the Bramble vest to Thornmail after you finish Sunfire Cape. If the enemy team is mixed damage, sit on the Bramble Vest and finish your MR item first.
Spectre’s Cowl is core on Poppy in magic damage matchups. Pick this up if the enemy team is mostly AP champions, so you can have early magic resist and additional HP in your stats. Upgrade it after Sunfire Cape when necessary. Pick Spirit Visage most often, as it increases your healing from Grasp of the Undying and Corrupting Potion, and if there are any other healing components on your team like Ocean Drakes and ally’s healing abilities. Go Adaptive Helm if you are against champions that use the same abilities a lot, like Ryze, Azir, or Cassiopeia.
Use Berserker’s Greaves as this is the cheapest attack speed item in the game. Take Berserker's Greaves if you are ahead or are not against CC or an AD damage threat.
Mercury's Treads should be built only if the enemy team has a strong source of magic damage or has a lot of CC, as you will need the tenacity and magic resistance they provide.
Use Ninja Tabi if you are against a strong auto-attack-based team or just need some armor to keep you alive against a bruiser, such as Riven or Darius, or against Zed.
Offensive Situational Items
If you want extra damage for Poppy you can build Trinity Force. This is the only real damage item you really go on Poppy. Building more than this is unnecessary because she already does so much damage. It provides nice stats and allows you to burst squishy targets easily if you land a combo.
If you want an offensive item that gives you the ability to dive, you can build Guardian Angel. It allows you to make very aggressive plays, but you need to be mindful about not going too deep, as it might turn your lead into your loss.
Defensive Situational Items
If you want fast healing after a teamfight, you can build Warmog’s Armor. This an a great item against teams with a lot of pokes. With its fast regenerative abilities, Warmog’s can be the aggressive item that will protect you from getting chunked out by your targets.
If you want additional resistances in the late game, you can build Gargoyle Stoneplate. This is a very late game item for Poppy because her damage falls off the longer the game progresses, so your job then is to just soak as much damage as possible while buying time for your carries to burst the enemy team down.
Full Build Example
An example full build for Poppy top can consist of:
- Ninja tabi
- Sunfire Cape
- Spirit Visage
- Warmog’s Armor
- Gargoyle Stoneplate
This is the most recommended build path for Poppy in the top lane, as it allows you to win lane with tanky damage items such as Bami’s Cinder and Bramble Vest, be a menace in the mid game where it will be extremely difficult for AD champions to kill you, and then transition into a beefy CC tank in the late game.
Passive - Iron Ambassador
Poppy’s passive is one of her most important abilities and it has many uses. You can use it to get farm safely from a distance, and you can use it to harass people, especially timing it with your Grasp of the Undying to add extra damage. Picking up the shield gives you a window to trade with the enemy where they will have to burn through your shield, nullifying a good chunk of their damage, or they will have to just run back and you can get some free damage in, like a Q. The shield also makes you deceptively tanky in teamfights, as long as you can consistently pick it up. Most people will be caught off guard by how hard it is to kill you
Q - Hammer Shock
This ability is the main source of Poppy’s damage. It can be used to harass when enemies walk up to kill a minion. It can also be used to shove the wave extremely quickly by having all the minions aggro you and walking, so they are huddled together. You can then Q the wave and clear it extremely quickly. Poppy’s Q is often used in a short combo with her E, because if you land the stun your Q is a sure hit to the enemy unless they Flash.
W - Steadfast Presence
Poppy’s W is unique in its ability to stop many champions in their tracks. You normally use W to stop enemy engages, such as Rengar jumping in or Alistar going for a Headbutt. It can also stop enemies from running away, like Camille using her E (Hookshot), or Lee Sin using his W (Safeguard). Using Poppy’s W correctly mostly comes down to recognizing when it can be used and which dashes you will be able to stop (blinks are not affected). When you are loading into a game you should look at the enemy champions and make sure you know what you can stop. At higher levels, a lot of enemies will hold their dashes until your W is down, so try not to pop it too early. It is very effective when used to react to enemy animations.
E - Heroic Charge
Poppy’s E is very straightforward. The main thing is to get a feel for how far it pushes people back so you can make sure you’ll land the stun, as it can go very bad for you if you E into someone and they are not stunned. If you fail, you will give them the time to keep fighting you. You can use E on minions, which can be helpful for chasing people that are running away. Sometimes the play is to use E on a minion to get next to someone if you don’t have an angle to stun them, so you aren’t pushing them further away. Then you can use your W to block their escape attempt.
R - Keeper's Verdict
Poppy’s R can be used in a lot of ways. When playing around Baron and Dragon her ultimate is very useful, because you can knock away the enemy jungler to make sure your team can secure the objective. It can also be used to zone just by channeling it and walking towards the enemies so they are forced to go back. This can be helpful especially when sieging. When you hold your ultimate and you see that the enemies disengage, do not let go of the ability. This will reduce the cooldown to only 30 seconds, giving you another opportunity to use it later. Poppy’s R can also be snap-casted to knock enemies up. Primarily do this when looking to kill someone with your abilities to make sure you can easily land your Q + E combo. The knock-up can also be useful if several enemies are piled on top of you and you need to gain time for your allies to escape. When getting ganked, you can walk into a lane bush and quickly start charging it to then knock the enemy jungler away when they get close. The AoE range is pretty big, so getting a feel for it will help you know when you can knock away multiple enemies at the same time.
Ability Skill Order
The skill order for Poppy is R > Q > E > W. Q (Hammer Smash) is your main damage tool, so you wanna max that first and take R (Keeper’s Verdict) whenever you can. Max E second because it gives you a lot of dueling pressure, making enemy carries mindful of their positioning, as they fear your stun ability. Sometimes you should take W (Steadfast Presence) level 2 if you’re worried about getting ganked by someone like Jarvan IV or Xin Zhao, or an enemy laner that has a strong gank setup like Camille. If you can get level 2 first and then land an E stun into a Q, that will chunk most people to below 40% HP.
A power spike is when a champion reaches a level or builds an item that makes them a lot stronger than other champions in the game. Poppy’s power spike is when she reaches level 2, because she is able to land a stun with her E early on. Other than that, her level spikes are 6 because she gets ultimate (Keeper’s Verdict), and then 9 when she has maxed Q (Hammer Smash), which will do the most damage.gives him the best chance to win in teamfights. Acquiring his 3 core items before the enemy ADC can give him the upper hand in the game. Focus on earning as much gold as possible to get that item boost.
E + Q + AA with passive + W + Run to pick up passive Combo
This is a very basic combo, but it’s probably the one you want to utilize the most because it does a lot of damage by landing both procs of Q, and when done correctly doesn’t really give a window to trade back. This combo can even be used slightly under tower if you run to pick the shield, as it will block the tower damage, but this is risky and it is important you don’t run even deeper under the tower to pick up the shield and take extra tower shots.
E + Q + Snap cast R + AA Combo
When done correctly, this combo guarantees both procs of Q, because the enemy can not even Flash away since they will be under the CC of your ultimate. Normally you use this combo to finish people off.
AA with passive + E + Q Combo
This one only really works with enemies that are not used to play against Poppy. You bait them with the shield, and when they commit you stun them.
How to Play Poppy
Normally, when playing Poppy, try to pick her into winning match-ups. This is very important, as your early game is your way of winning the top lane. With the use of Corrupting Potion and Grasp of the Undying, you’ll be able to trade better and sustain hits and get through the laning phase. You can roam a little bit to help out your jungler in skirmishes. You want to do this to get ahead from the enemy toplaner. Once you do so, force your opponent at the top out of the lane by either killing them or trading so hard that they will be forced to back away, giving you the chance to grab some turret plates. Gaining this early gold can snowball you a better position towards the mid game phase.
During the mid game you should have already taken your enemy’s tower. Having a great lead early on will transition to a better performance than your enemy toplaner. When you already held your opponent down, you should prioritize helping your team with neutral objectives like Dragons for the Soul and Rift Heralds for the sieging power. It won’t matter if the enemy outscales you within this time if you have all the objectives on the map.
- Split-pushing – If the enemy team has a split-push champion like Jax, Camille, Fiora, etc., you want to be the one to answer them. At this moment, you should be ahead enough that you can push them in. Otherwise, try and play near your tower. If a fight breaks out and the other split-pusher is looking to TP, you can cancel their spell with your ultimate (Keeper’s Verdict) and throw them away from any possible teamfight across the map.
- Objective control – Poppy’s ultimate is extremely useful for objective control, because you can knock the other jungler away or just knock random enemies away to give your team a numbers advantage. Poppy’s E is also extremely strong around objectives, as it is very easy to land stuns on enemies in the Baron and Dragon pits.
During the late game your damage falls off pretty hard, so most of the time you want to act as the frontline of your team so your carries can do damage. Not wasting W (Steadfast Presence) is especially important in this stage of the game, because as long as you have it, it will stop a lot of engage options from the enemies. Looking for flanks with Teleport is important because, with a good stun on a carry to start a fight, you can win your team the game. It is crucial for you to soak in as much damage as you can from your enemies and throw them off their strategy. With Poppy, you have the resistance to be a tank that can disturb them, as your team tries to take Dragon or Baron. You can easily click R (Keeper’s Verdict) and throw them back so you and your allies can finish the objective and start sieging the enemy base, giving you the victory.
Poppy Tips and Tricks
- Playing with vision is important. Place a Control Ward and push, then wait for someone to walk up to get picks as Poppy.
- If you’re near a plant and have your passive up, hitting the plant will give you the shield right away as if you had killed a minion.
- Poppy’s W can stop enemies who try to hit blast plants, but the plant will still affect you, so watch your position or you’ll get knocked away.
- If you want to push your lane but you aren’t sure where the enemy jungler is, as long as you have an enemy minion behind you, you can use E on it to get out.
- If you’re playing against a good Fiora and you use W too early, she can Q + W into your Steadfast Presence and it will stun you, so be careful!
Frequent Mistakes/Noob Traps
These are things most Poppy players do that shouldn’t be done at a high level ELO.
Mistake #1 – Not knowing that her ultimate always sends enemies towards their base. You should know the direction they are going to, as this may lead to a comeback in a small skirmish. Poppy’s ultimate is destructive, but it can also be a problem if you do not know how to use it.
Mistake #2 – Leaving her passive shield behind. Being lazy and not taking your shield when using Poppy is a low ELO play. That shield may possibly save you at a crucial moment, so don’t waste it by leaving it behind.
Mistake #3 – Being afraid to tank for your team. Poppy has very strong stats in the game. Remember that you get tankier when you have low HP thanks to your W’s passive, so be the frontline of your carries and take hits for the team.
Mistake #4 – Building full damage when ahead. It’s better to build tank items because, as the game progresses longer, you’ll just die faster with damage items unless you can find insane flanks. Defense is the best path for Poppy to effectively utilize her abilities.
Mistake #5 – Not learning to tank towers for the team. When you have a lot of armor, you can tank a tower for a long period of time. Remember that your teammates are not that tanky, so be careful not to drop turret aggro too early, as it may kill them.
Similar Champions to Poppy
Listed below are some champions you can use to replace Poppy. They also soak damage for the team and throw off the teamfight abilities of the enemy. When Poppy isn’t available because she is either banned or picked by the enemy team, knowing how to play these champions will give you a variety to choose from, safeguarding your LP from going down and keeping your games awesome.
Gets quite tanky. Has good crowd control abilities. Can show anywhere. Ornn is another one of my favorite tanks. He does a lot of damage and is extremely tanky. His AoE CC allows you to carry teamfights when the enemy bunches up. His passive, (Living Forge) also gives your team an edge as the game progresses, because you can upgrade your team’s items.
High sustain with Sap Magic. Heavy CC. Great late game. Maokai is another tank you can really enjoy. His E (Sapling Toss) and ultimate (Nature’s Grasp) allow huge zone controls, and his point-and-click CC, W (Twisted Advance), makes locking down key targets easy. His passive also makes him an incredible sustain tank who excels against magic damage teams. Fear the tree!
Global heal. Strong poke early game. Increases movement speed of allies. Soraka is a more niche pick top lane, but it offers an extreme safe lane into almost anything and you are able to support your team early on with your ultimate (Wish). She requires very little resources, but still feels very impactful. When you are confident in your teammates and don’t need more damage, Soraka top is the pick.
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