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For the Teamfight Tactics icon Teamfight Tactics trait, see Shapeshifter TFT icon Shapeshifter.

An ability is a unique action (as opposed to summoner spells / active ability items) performed by and only available to a champion (Baron NashorSquare Baron Nashor is currently the only example of a non-champion unit with abilities) Each of these special moves make up a portion of a champion's 'kit'.

Champion Kits

Every champion kit (with some exceptions) follows the same basic structure: an innate with no ranks, three basic abilities with five ranks each, and an ultimate with three ranks.

  • Innate: Available as soon as the game starts, innate abilities passively affects a champion for the entire match but cannot be ranked up at will, often scaling with their owners' level to compensate.
    • Innates sometimes feature a unique mechanic that helps define a champion's playstyle.
  • Basic abilities: Available from level 1 and controlled by the Q - W - E keys, basic abilities are learned over the course of the game by ranking them up after every level-up, the earliest for maxing one out being level 9 (current rank cannot be higher than half the champion's rounded out level, limiting each new rank for the same ability to every odd, single-digit level)
  • Ultimate: Available from level 6 (can only be ranked up again at levels 11 and 16 at the least) and controlled by the R key, ultimates are considered a champion's strongest, most characteristic, and most game-changing ability.
    • Ultimate abilities feature a HUD indicator attached to the champion's portrait (can be set to appear on top of the minimap or on the left of the screen) letting allies know the state of each other's ultimate cooldowns (black if not learned yet, gray when on cooldown, green when ready to cast)

Components

Any given ability can possess one or more of the following components (combinations may vary)
  • Scaling: Abilities increase in potency and/or strength through a portion of certain stats champions acquire via items and/or runes.
  • Cost: Most abilities require the champion to expend a resource cost (Mana icon mana, Energy icon energy, Health icon health or others) in order to be cast, becoming unable to do so if they possess less than the required amount (the ability's HUD icon will turn gray)
    • Toggles continuously consume a resource until the ability is toggled off manually or does so automatically upon resource depletion.
    • Resourceless champions only have cooldowns as their ability 'costs'.
  • Cooldown: Champions must wait a certain length of time before they can use the same ability again via a Cooldown reduction icon cooldown. This wait can be shortened by purchasing cooldown reduction (maximum 40%, increased to 45% with Cosmic Insight rune Cosmic Insight).
  • Ammo: Some abilities run on charges (as opposed to a cooldown) in order to be used.
    • Stock: Activation charges are generated periodically up to a maximum (recharge time is affected by cooldown reduction)
    • Barrage: Charges are generated upon activating the ability, and are available for the duration (all unused charges are lost when it ends). Used charges incur no additional resource costs, but are gated with static recast cooldowns.
  • Range: How many units the caster and the target (unit / location) must be from one another in order for the ability to be cast / to hit (hitbox collision detection determines if the range used is Range center center-based or Range model edge-based)
    • In-game tooltips do not display either range or targeting (visually drawn by placing the cursor over an ability's icon on the HUD)
    • Some ultimate abilities feature an unlimited global range, allowing champions to be a threat to their enemies from anywhere on the map and/or to assist their allies from afar.
  • Cast time: The champion is unable to perform any other actions for a brief period of time until the ability takes effect (can only be interrupted by the champion's death or by some crowd control effects). Most abilities have a 0.25 second cast time (setting the effect to begin after the button press rather than instantaneously), then introduce a delay for the actual effect.
    • A cast may include a lockout that prevents certain actives until afterward (buffer), or disables them entirely. This lockout can extend past the cast time up until the ability ends.
  • Channel: The champion must not perform any other actions for a brief period of time in order for the ability to take full effect (can be Silence icon interrupted by the caster themselves unless otherwise stated or by most crowd control effects)
    • Interrupted channels will not refund the ability's cost but may have it go on a reduced cooldown (occurs with some unit-targeted abilities if the affected enemy Death dies or becomes Playful untargetable during the channel)
  • Active: Must be cast at a target unit / location / direction in order to be used (innate abilities never feature this component). Autonomous actives usually require a nearby target or no targets in some cases to be used.
  • Passive: Affects the champion without any specific input required on their part.
    • Auras passively affects nearby units (allies, enemies, or both) within a certain range.
  • Toggle: Allows the champion to cycle the ability between 'on' and 'off' status, activating and (willingly/forcefully) disabling it or swapping an effect for another.
  • Stance: The champion 'shapeshifts' themselves and/or their abilities, gaining persistent effects (mutually exclusive) and/or temporary ones (may overlap by gaining high cooldown reduction) while losing others.
    • Rapid stance-swapping is usually regulated by a brief global cooldown in order to prevent a champion from continually accumulating temporary effects.
    • Some stances replace temporary effects by granting completely different basic abilities based on the active stance.
  • Summon: Champions can bring forth other units to assist them and/or their allies.
  • On-Action Effects: Abilities within a champion's kit can interact with certain actions and/or each other for synergistic effects and results.
    • Most abilities apply spell vamp and/or spell effects from items.
      • A select few apply on-hit effects (but only if specifically stated to be able to do so)
    • Stacking allows to permanently / temporarily increase an ability's potency and/or strength by repeated uses, unit kills (their health reduced below 0, other conditions may apply) and/or combining them with basic attacks.
    • The caster's death can allow them to trigger revive and/or 'revenge' effect.

Effects

Any given ability can possess one or more of the following effects (combinations may vary)
  • Combat: Enhances offensive and/or defensive aspects.
    • Damage allows Champion icon champions to kill Minion icon minions, Monster icon monsters and other champions in order to obtain gold to become stronger.
    • Stun icon Crowd control effects hinder and/or disable a champion's fighting capabilities.
    • Promote Buffs affect the caster and/or their allies for their benefit.
    • Malefic Visions Debuffs affect the caster's enemies for their detriment.
  • Utility: Enhances non-combat aspects.
    • Flash Blinks and Dash dashes allow champions to move through otherwise solid obstacles/terrain or as a simple method of gaining distance or means of escape, similarly to Flash Flash.
    • Heal power Heals provides a means of sustains through combat.
    • Hybrid resistances icon Shields enhance survivability by absorbing damage to prevent health loss.
    • Guerrilla Warfare Stealth grants Twilight Shroud old2 invisibility and Ambush 2 camouflage to avoid enemy detection.
    • Cosmic Radiance Invulnerability gives immunity to sources of enemy damage.
    • Playful Untargetability grants immunity to enemy focus-fire (Blaze damage over time and delayed damage debuffs can still apply if durations and circumstances permit)

Trivia

Innate abilities

Basic abilities

Ultimate abilities

Pseudo-Ultimate abilities

Others

Gameplay Elements
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