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Play Ornn like Vizicsacsi

The Fire Below the Mountain’s been heating up the Rift since the preseason, and anyone who strives for success on the rift must know how to play as and against The Forge God. Today I’ll be teaching you how to do just that with the help of one of the best Ornn players around: Schalke 04’s top laner Vizicsacsi!

Those of you who tuned into the EU LCS on Friday likely saw Vizicsacsi take the hammer to ROCCAT, and I asked him some questions about the Living Forge.

“So Vizicsacsi, what makes Ornn so strong right now?”

Ornn is still super strong right now even after his recent nerfs due to his excellent laning phase and teamfights. First off, he beats any champion that he can get his Bellows Breath (W) Brittle stack on and threaten to trigger it afterwards. Against champions that he cannot do this to, he can freely scale up by passively farming, reaching unmatchable engage pressure at level six due to his ultimate, Call of the Forge God. Another factor that many people do not really think about is that Ornn will almost always have an item advantage in lane due to the power of his passive, Living Forge, as he does not have to recall to purchase items. The strongest part of Ornn, however, is his ultimate, Call of the Forge God, which is mainly used for engaging. Due to its range, Call of the Forge God can catch enemies off guard, allowing you to skirmish alongside your team after level six.

“Is there any situation or team comp that you wouldn’t pick Ornn into?”

Ornn is normally safe to blind pick. He does well with and against any team comp. However, there are a few specific situations where he is slightly less impactful than he would otherwise be. One such situation would be against a strong split pusher that can outscale him 1v1 and can push him in on the side lanes, preventing him from grouping with his team and utilising his game changing ultimate. Another situation would be if the enemy team chooses Braum or Yasuo, as they can both deny Ornn’s engages with their respective blocking abilities.




“What would you recommend for optimal Ornn rune pages?”

Pick the Resolve tree as your go-to primary. Choose Grasp of the Undying against melee champions; its ease-of-use, extra damage, and lane sustain makes Grasp a strong keystone choice for any Vanguard. If you face a tough ranged opponent, opt for Aftershock instead because you’ll struggle to use Grasp if you can’t reach your opponent.

For tier two, pick up Demolish to bolster your pushing power. Because Ornn’s a Vanguard, you won’t build any damage items, therefore Demolish is a great choice, allowing you to still meaningfully damage towers without damage items.

Following that, you have a matchup-dependent choice: take Iron Skin against physical damage champions, or Mirror Shell against magic damage champions. You could also choose Conditioning if you’re playing in an easy or passive matchup.

Finally, pick up Second Wind as your last option in the Resolve Tree. In passive or easy matchups you can switch this for Overgrowth.

For the secondary tree you should spec into Sorcery.

Manaflow Band and Transcendence are your go-to runes in this tree. Choose Manaflow Band so you don’t run out of mana in lane, allowing you to stay longer and trade more often. Transcendence is a great choice thanks to Ornn’s synergy with cooldown reduction, and should help you reach the the 40% cap. If you feel you won’t need the extra mana regen, consider swapping Manaflow Band for Ultimate Hat, granting you a shorter cooldown on Call of the Forge God.



As for summoner spells, Flash and Teleport should be your setup 100% of the time on Ornn. Flash offers an instant shortdistance blink which you can utilise as an engage tool to reach priority targets, or as an escape tool.

Teleport allows you to flank the enemy team and force them into an unfavourable fight. The number one rule with Ornn, however, is to not use your TP while your ultimate is on cooldown. Early game, look for teleports to botlane skirmishes as your ultimate can change the course of a fight drastically! Later in the game, look for a flank onto a group of enemies, and attempt to land an ultimate across to kick off the fight. If they try to flee they may have to run directly towards you, allowing you to set up a nice knock-up with your Q+E combo.

Vizicsacsi playing Ornn during EU LCS Week One: An example of ganking with teleport





Primary Passive: Living Forge

Possibly the most distinctive part of Ornn's kit. Living Forge allows Ornn to craft non-consumable items from anywhere on the map, meaning that he does not need to return to base to purchase items. Additionally, being a master blacksmith, Ornn allows each of his teammates to purchase ONE "Masterwork" item upgrade each.

Masterwork Items: Each of Ornn's teammates may opt to upgrade one of their key items, making it a masterwork item, giving it more base stats for a fee. This means that if the game goes long enough, or someone is fed enough, they get the edge over their opponents in terms of raw stats. This makes Ornn a must-have for those long drawn out games.

Secondary Passive: Temper

When Ornn basic attacks a Brittle target they’ll be knocked back briefly. Any enemy made Brittle by Ornn will lose a large portion of their maximum health as bonus magic damage (per stack of brittle) the next time they are immobilized by Ornn or his allies.

Q - Volcanic Rupture

Ornn creates a fissure in the target direction, dealing physical damage slowing those hit for two seconds. After a brief delay, a Magma Pillar erupts at the end location of the fissure. The pillar remains for four seconds.

This is a good poke tool with a decent base damage. You can also use Searing Charge to collide with the Magma Pillar created by Volcanic Rupture. This means you can create terrain in the middle of the enemy team and knock them all up during a fight where you otherwise would not be able to!

W - Bellows Breath

Upon activation, Ornn shields himself and marches towards the target direction. During this march, Ornn is slowed and cannot be stopped. He belches fire over a cone in front of him, dealing magic damage to all enemies within the cone. The final bout of flame will apply "Brittle" on all enemies hit.

Amazing tool for avoiding and dealing damage, especially if you can proc the Brittle stack generated by the final bout.

E - Searing Charge

Ornn charges forward, dealing physical damage to all enemies he passes through, stopping upon colliding with terrain or reaching the maximum distance of the spell. If Ornn collides with terrain during Searing Charge, he creates a shockwave around him, dealing increased physical damage and knocking up all enemies within the radius.

Strong initiation tool. Can allow you to lock down your opponent long enough for a gank or just to add some extra trading power. Great synergy with Volcanic Rupture’s Magma Pillar.

R - Call of the Forge God

Ornn summons an elemental at maximum range in the target direction, which stampedes towards him, dealing magic damage and slowing all enemies hit for 2 seconds, as well as applying Brittle for 6 seconds.

If Ornn recasts Call of the Forge God, he can collide with the elemental, head-butting it and sending it stampeding again in a new target direction. The Elemental is empowered, and now knocks up all enemies hit.

This is your main initiation tool. Amazing for starting a fight. Most people get caught out by the range of Call of the Forge God, allowing for some potent engages, especially if cast from a flank position. Hitting Call of the Forge God can be the difference between destroying a fight, or losing it horribly.

Vizicsacsi playing Ornn during EU LCS Week One: Initiating a fight with Call of the Forge God

SKILL ORDER: R -> W -> Q -> E

skill order

With Bellows Breath as your main damage source and skirmishing ability, the logical thing to do is max it first. Prioritize putting your skill points into Call of the Forge God where available, followed by Bellows Breath, Volcanic Rupture, and Searing charge respectively.



Q (Volcanic Rupture) > W (Bellows Breath) > Brittle Auto > E (Searing Charge) Into the Magma Pillar.

This will deal a large chunk of damage to the opponent without much room to avoid it. If you can go for the kill, you can do the same combo but ult (Call of the Forge God) after using Searing Charge.

In a team fight, you should initiate with R (Call of the Forge God) > recast R to knock up enemies > Q (Volcanic Rupture)  > W (Bellows Breath)  > E (Searing Charge) into the Magma Pillar (created by Volcanic Rupture).

Vizicsacsi playing Ornn during EU LCS Week One: Q W Auto E R Combo




Starting items

Pick up Corrupting Potion or Doran's Shield to start. Corrupting Potion is the normal go-to item as it offers health and mana sustain, plus a little more damage in a fight while the potion is ticking. The alternative would be Doran’s Shield, which is usually picked up against poke champions, such as Gnar or Jayce.

First recall/craft

This depends on what you started with. If you started Corrupting Potion, you should aim to craft either a Cloth Armor when vs an AD champion, or Null Magic Mantle vs an AP champion. You can also opt to craft a Doran’s Shield when the enemy can poke you harder than you would like.

Your ideal early items would be Glacial Shroud vs AD, or Null Magic Mantle + Catalyst of Aeons vs AP.

First Power Spikes/Early Core

You can opt for Glacial Shroud first, and then pick up Ninja Tabi into Frozen Gauntlet vs AD champions.

Versus AP you can go Null Magic Mantle + Catalyst, into Mercury Treads and then either Abyssal Mask or, if you’re winning the 1v1 and Abyssal is not needed as much, Righteous Glory for the extra engage pressure.

Core and Situational items

Your general three core items will be Abyssal Mask or Frozen Gauntlet, Righteous Glory, and Warmog’s Armor.

Fifth and sixth items will be a choice between Randuin’s Omen, Thornmail, Gargoyle’s Stoneplate, and Locket of the Iron Solari, depending on what you need against the enemy team. Adaptive Helm is also a great pick-up when the enemy team is heavily magic-damage based. For boots, pick either Ninja Tabi or Mercury Treads.


Advice for Laning Phase

Against melee champions you should last hit and only harass the opponent if they come in to pick up CS, ensuring you get as much damage off with Bellows Breath as possible. Other than that, the best way to lane against a melee champion is to just scale up. Don’t force too hard. Once you reach level seven, you’ll have four points in Bellows Breath. This means it will be nigh impossible for you to be out-traded and, due to Living Forge, you should have an item advantage as well. You will generally wait until level seven before playing aggressively, because this is his strongest point in lane.

The same applies vs ranged champions. Try to reach level 7 before fighting. At this point you can start to look for aggressive Q+E engages. If you manage to hit the enemy, you can attempt to go all in with your ultimate.

Another option vs ranged is to wait for a jungle gank, as the ranged champion will normally be over-extended due to pushing the lane. This is where Ornn shines due to the incredible range on his Call of the Forge God.

One more thing that is somewhat unique to Ornn is his roam potential. He can push the lane rather quickly with W and Q and then threaten to gank mid lane with his long range ultimate. This puts a lot of pressure onto the enemy mid laner and jungler, especially if the mid laner is an immobile champion.


Advice for Team Fighting

Ideally, you are the main team fight initiator. Try to push out a side lane, then rotate towards your team and look for a nice long range ultimate to start off a fight. If the opposing team is stacked together it’s possible to hit three or four people with Call of the Forge God. But don’t worry if you don’t manage to hit many people! If your ultimate hits a single enemy carry, it can be good enough as that’s pretty much a death sentence for them. You can follow up your ultimate with a Q+E combo to keep the enemy CC’d. Other than that, try to avoid getting CC’d and tank damage!

Vizicsacsi playing Ornn during EU LCS Week One: An example of team fighting



In Conclusion, Ornn is a strong and safe pick who scales insanely well into the mid and late game. Even with his recent nerfs, we expect to continue to regularly see him on the Rift and in EU LCS. So if you’re after a champion who can tank for your team and dish out tons of CC, Ornn’s the ram for you!


Hopefully you now know how to dominate your opponents and take their elo with Ornn! Thanks for taking the time to read this guide. Special thanks to Vizicsacsi for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer all of my questions. See you guys on the Rift!