Samira, the Desert Rose, is League of Legends’ newest champion.
As a love letter to Dante from Devil May Cry or Bayonetta from her titular game, Samira aims to satisfy players who enjoy stringing stylish combos together. Her playstyle rewards players who can space themselves between enemies properly, while knowing when to pivot between ranged and melee attacks effectively. Players who are trying to find a high mobility fighter with range will enjoy picking up Samira.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to play Samira.
Runes and abilities
Conqueror is the standard keystone that you should always aim to take with Samira. Since Samira has multiple abilities, stacking up Conqueror is an easy task for her. Additionally, whenever you use the close-range components of Samira’s kit, like the melee versions of her basic attack and Q, she gains two stacks of Conqueror as opposed to the one that natural ranged users would receive.
An alternate consideration to Conqueror is Fleet Footwork. This rune should only be used whenever you’re in a bad matchup where an enemy like Caitlyn or Jayce can consistently outange you. The damage discrepancy when picking Fleet Footwork over Conqueror is large, though, so you shouldn’t consider it too often.
If you take Samira into a solo lane where you have the range advantage against your opponent, Dark Harvest is a niche option that can be considered. Since you can endlessly harass your opponent and you’re seeking multiple fights when the mid game arrives, Dark Harvest can provide multiple burst opportunities in the middle of a teamfight.
Here are all of Samira’s abilities:
Passive: Daredevil Impulse
There are two separate components to Samira’s passive. The first half enables her combo system. Whenever Samira deals damage from a different source in quick succession against enemy champions, she ramps up her grade from E to S. Every grade she has out of six increases her movement speed. If Samira hits a champion with the same ability, she retains her current grade for a while longer before losing it completely.
The second half of her passive allows her to extend crowd control effects from her allies using her basic attacks. Additionally, when Samira is in melee range, she uses her sword instead of her gun. This basic sword attack deals extra magic damage based on missing health on enemies.
Samira’s Flair has three functional uses. First, when it’s used at range, it becomes a simple skillshot with a medium range. When Flair is activated within melee range, it provides a cone slash in front of her, similar to Yone’s W. The final usage of her Flair can be done in the middle of a Wild Rush dash. Samira lays explosives as she’s dashing, damaging everyone caught within the explosive path.
During the laning phase, this can be used as a standard poking tool. But if you hit an enemy champion with your bullet, nearby minions will attack you. This means you’ll need to use brush vision to deactivate enemy minions.
W: Blade Whirl
Blade Whirl is functionally similar to both Yasuo’s Wind Wall and Braum’s Unbreakable while having a dual offensive usage. Samira slashes in an area around her and keeps a circular AoE effect around her. While the circle persists, she destroys all incoming enemy projectiles and does one more slash around her after the duration ends.
Since Blade Whirl can damage at two separate times, if you can deal any damage in between the first and second hit, it provides you three grades with only two abilities.
E: Wild Rush
After targeting an ally or enemy unit, Samira dashes in that direction, slashing every enemy within her path. Whenever Samira participates in an enemy champion takedown, the cooldown on Wild Rush is completely reset, allowing multiple uses in successful teamfights—similar to Tristana’s Rocket Jump. Samira’s E also grants her temporary bonus attack speed.
Players who are familiar with Yasuo’s Sweeping Strikes will adapt to Wild Rush quickly. Samira’s Wild Rush goes a fixed distance after activation, meaning if you’re close to your target, you’ll dash through and away from them. And if you’re far away, you’ll get into melee range.
R: Inferno Trigger
While at an S grade, Samira gains access to cast Inferno Trigger, a circular AoE that blasts everyone within range. While she’s using her ultimate, Samira can’t cast Flair naturally or Blade Whirl. During this time, though, she can use Wild Rush and the explosive component of Flair in the middle of it. Inferno Trigger’s cooldown is negligible at only three seconds, meaning you’re only gated by Samira’s grade from using it multiple times in a single fight.
Even though Samira’s taunt is a joke inclusion to her kit that deals only one damage and gives opponents one gold, there’s merit in using it. Besides being considered an ability projectile, which can break enemy spell shields, it also serves as another damage source that can keep her combo meter going.
This flavorful part of her kit should only really be considered during the laning phase when the action is limited. But even during this time, it shouldn’t be a serious consideration to incorporate into her kit.
Optimizing item paths, combos, and play patterns from early to late game
Despite Samira’s mention of being considered a marksman, she doesn’t scale as well with attack speed as other marksmen. Due to the nature of Samira’s kit, she scales exceptionally well with cooldown reduction, critical strike rating, and lifesteal.
This means Essence Reaver, Bloodthirster, Infinity Edge, and Death’s Dance are all strong items to use on her. Even though Samira doesn’t prefer attack speed, picking up at least one attack speed based item in the late game will help boost your damage output after using Wild Rush.
Getting to an S grade as fast as possible to use your ultimate should be your main priority once you reach level six. This means practicing your combos is a key to success with Samira. One of Samira’s standard combos starts off in Blade Whirl range. If you basic attack, Q, W, E, second hit of W, and Q, you obtain your S grade instantly, allowing you to cast Inferno Trigger as soon as possible.
In the early and mid game, you should preemptively harass enemies with Q and auto attacks, granting you early access to raising your grade. Once you get enemies low enough, you can dive in with your Wild Rush and Inferno Trigger to deal massive damage.
In the late game, using your W to stop potent projectiles is imperative to winning teamfights. Samira also has a multitude of avenues to navigate during a teamfight due to her E. If you’re ever concerned about being hit by an enemy, you can Wild Rush toward a teammate, giving you more breathing room to shoot from afar.
While Samira excels in close-range combat, it’s best to let your teammates with crowd control engage first. Samira shines when enemies have no cooldowns to answer her.
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