"I will wait for you to be better."
The most often heard line from the terror in the top lane, Camille’s words ring true. She is a top laner almost without equal, and has been a stalwart ban throughout competitive and casual play alike. Although her power has definitely diminished over the last couple of patches, a game just isn’t complete without ‘The Steel Shadow’ playing a role.
Just what makes Camille so strong?
Top lane has regularly been split into a dichotomy. Either you pick a tanky, utility based laner who facilitates the team, or you walk a lonely road and take a bruiser who split pushes and draws the attention of the enemy team.
With the advent of the spring split, the majority of top laners have been tanks. We’ve seen a gluttony of Maokai, of Shen, of Poppy, of boring after boring handbag fights. The reason for this? The focus for damage has been moved towards Jungle and Mid, leaving top free to provide crowd-control and a sturdy front line. The only main exceptions for this are Rumble and Renekton, who have started being brought into drafts as counters to this front loaded tank threat.
Where does Camille fit into this picture? Camille is in a unique position where she provides a great split push threat, along with the ability to isolate and eliminate a single target from a fight. Her passive provides inherent tankiness, she’s exceedingly mobile and has to be dealt with. Otherwise, your base will be in shambles, and you’ll be wondering - Where did it all go wrong?
With Precision Protocol being your main source of damage it’s logical to max that first, giving you strong trade potential in lane alongside a huge spike when you complete your Sheen. However, just because you want to max Q first, you don’t always have to take it as your first ability. A lot of people decide to take Tactical Sweep first so you can push the lane, get to level two first, and then harass your enemy with your lane advantage. Alongside this, Tactical Sweep is amazing into Shen as it allows you to continually harass even when he mitigates your auto-attacks with his Spirit’s Refuge.
Runes & Masteries
Most pros agree that 18/0/12 is the way to go in terms of masteries. The only major difference being in the early stages of the Ferocity tree. There are some pros who decide to go for Fresh Blood over Feast, trading off extra damage for reduced sustain in the lane. Also, Vampirism and Natural Talent are pretty interchangeable. Go for points in Vampirism if you want to bolster your sustain in the lane, allowing you to split into tanks more effectively. Otherwise, Natural Talent gives you a boon later in the game, with extra AD always something Camille relishes having.
As for runes, most pros are running:
Scaling Health Seals
Flat MR Glyphs
Attack Speed Quintessences
There is also an argument to take straight AD Quints, especially if you’re looking for more burst oriented trades in lane. Alongside this, some people switch out the scaling health seals for straight up armor, usually in lanes against fellow top lane bruisers (e.g. Yasuo, and Renekton). It gives you a little more tankiness in your trades early on, and allows you to try and start your snowball.
There is rarely a time you want to start in lane with anything other than Corrupting Potion. Its ability to enhance your trades allows you to be consistently aggressive in lane, without the worry that your opponent will somehow whittle through your health. If you do end up going back early, you can pick up a Doran’s Blade to supplement your power, but you’re really looking to have 1300 gold on your first back. This means you can grab either your Sheen or your Phage straight away!
Again, this build is pretty tried and true. The main choice you have to make is whether to go for a Sheen or Phage first. Sheen gives Camille much more burst in trades, as you can proc it incredibly easily with Precision Protocol. Phage, on the other hand, makes you tankier, and helps you in prolonged trades. If you’re worried about the enemy trading back into you, Sheen give you much more burst for your buck and lets you get in and out with no problems. Tiamat is next on the shopping list: while its regen and extra AD are nice and all, what you really want is the passive. It helps you push in your opponent, and then you can get to roaming!
As with most champions, your late game item choices depend very much on what you’re facing into. If you’re playing into a tankier top laner and want to split push your way to victory, you’re best choosing Ravenous Hydra, as the extra sustain and damage is just too much to pass up. However, if you think you’re going to be out damaged, usually by a champion like Jax or Fiora, Titanic Hydra gives you the little bit of tankiness you might need. It also helps you take down burst mages when you try to team fight, as you’re too beefy to be oneshotted.
Your choice of Randuin’s and Spirit Visage is largely dependent on the AP or AD composition of the team you’re playing into. There is a third option in the form of Guardian Angel, usually built as a supplement to another tanky item, this gives you a little more freedom when you’re "Hookshotting" onto the enemy's backline.
Camille plays mostly like a bruiser, with a little more upfront damage in her kit. Your main aim in lane, is to harass your opponent while consistently pushing the lane into their tower and denying them farm. By doing this, you can gain control of your enemies top side jungle, and sometimes even catch the enemy jungler out while he paths around. With your Hookshot/Wall Jump, your ability to rapidly roam down to mid lane is second to none. Look for early ganks, because all it takes is a kill to get you snowballing!
Level 6 is a huge power point for you, and you should be looking to coordinate with your jungler to gank the top lane around then. Hextech Ultimatum makes it impossible for enemies to escape you, and even if you tower dive, you have invulnerability frames that makes switching tower aggro with your jungler incredibly simple. An easy kill can quickly be rocketed into first tower, and then your true power begins.
The hardest lane for Camille is probably Renekton. Be incredibly cautious when you face the pesky crocodile, as he can out harass you in lane, and push you back to your tower. If he has a strong jungler, they can always set up for an aggressive early dive. Also, your ultimate is essentially countered by his, as he can throw down the Dominus and out damage you whenever you try to lock him into his cage. Ask your jungler for early ganks, so you can try to avoid falling too far behind, and remember, you outscale him! You just have to survive the lane, and try to counter any ganks that might occur.
Team Fighting & Split Pushing
After the first tower falls, Camille adopts a unique role as a top laner. The majority of the time, you should be looking to split push and power yourself into your 2 item core. However, if you can garner deep vision in the enemy jungle, Camille roams superbly. Try to push the lane into your enemy, then coordinate with your team, because if you can burn the enemy's teleport as they try to react to your roam, while holding on to your own, you force them into a very sticky situation.
In teamfights, your main goal is to isolate the enemy ADC or midlaner and nuke them. You should rarely be grouped with your team as a fight kicks off, rather try to position yourself on a flank, so that when the enemy squishies step forward, you’re ready to pounce. Always remember, you can reposition easily with Hookshot, and the threat of you jumping in can often burn a few enemy flashes. Be patient, because your prey will make a mistake.
Now that you’re all caught up, prepare yourself to tactically sweep away your opposition.