I've been playing Heimerdinger since I started LoL. As I near 30, I'll get there today, I get more and more hate for choosing him and asking for mid, or solo top if I have to. It's come the point where I don't even think the champ is bad... but peoples understanding of him is. So I thought I'd give my opinion on the little dude and see what you guys think.
We're going to talk about abilities first, then items, then overall champion stuffs.
Passive- This gives a buff to all nearby allies, turrets (both his and your teams), and your own (!!!) healing rate. Open with mana regen and you will sustain all day baby.
Q- I always open with his Q, the turrets. These little guys are awesome, and they're what I max first. People will say 'noob turrets are useless'. Well... it depends on what you expect them to do. They probably won't help you in a gank or an early team fight, but they allow you to push extremely hard, while staying far back from the action and getting rich. I've never played a character as rich as Heimer that can also be as safe. His turrets allow you to be in 3 places at once. Plant turrets at the front, and stick close enough to missile minions or engaging champions as you will. It may be hard to visualize, but you can plant two turrets just outside of the enemies mid turret range, effectively stifling them, while hanging back at your own mid turrets range. As the turrets get ranked up, they will shred enemy mobs so fast you'll be sending full swarms of minions onto the tower, wave after wave, and tear it down. It's not fast, but it's safe, and assured. Get a turret killed? Replace it. Being chased? Stagger the turrets as you run away so they have to walk through the fire twice. Fighting a melee champ? spread them out and watch him have to run around getting shot.
Once these things hit level 5 you can solo blue with no support. Run by, drop two turrets, and a few seconds later you have blue and can spam missiles all day. That and by the time you get back to lane you should have at least one back off cd. As the game gets into the late game team fight stages, dropping 2 turrets at the edge of the engagement and staying alive increases the overall dps of your team incredibly.
Pros- Best pushing mechanic in the game imo while staying safe. Great for late game team fights. Allow you sustain for so long (it's a VERY cost effective spell). Allows you to 'auto jungle' at level 9.
Cons- You can't control them, so targeting down individual champs while there are minions around is impossible. They DO cost a lot. If the enemy team is prioritizing killing them you will be mana starved or pushed out of your lane.
W- Heimers main poke and main source of hero damage. the three rockets will strike the nearest targets and don't prioritize champions, like the way Sona's Q does. These things are SO amazing. The range on them is HUGE, and getting the synergy down between this ability and your turrets is essential.
Because of the way it targets, it can be impossible to poke enemy champs unless you clear the minions first. This is where the 'turret strangle' comes in effect. Pushing the lane so far that the enemy mob is shredded before your own arrives. Now using the massive range you can poke away safely and avoid most ganks just by having good reaction time and decision making. Realize also that as wonky as your missile targeting is, it's just as confusing for the enemy. Stay ultra aware of your missiles range and the number of targets in it and you will 9/10 times poke a champ when he thought he couldn't be poked. Late game in team fights you should be standing near your turrets and spamming this AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Once the minions are clears you are poking 3 champs at once, from super long range, for damned good damage.
Pros- Super long range poke for good damage. Pretty good cool down time. Can both help you melt waves extremely quick and dish out damage across the board in team fights.
Cons- High mana cost, targeting takes a while to get used to as does knowing where the border of your range is.
E- Ah yes, the good old conc grenade. I level this as slowly as possible for a number of reasons. One, early game it's very mana heavy. Two, it's a very slow moving projectile. Three, it's stun has a very small radius, the blind is mildly useful but the damage it does also negligible early game.
Late game it gets a lot more useful. As your AP gets built, it does sick damage. Throwing that into a team fight, while staying safely with your turrets and spamming missiles, will do loads of damage to multiple enemies, blind multiple enemies, and if you have a good arm, stun a carry or the like.
And also when getting ganked or ambushed, this is your friend against melee champs. Wait till they are almost within range then 'nade them to the face and keep running.
Pros- Can stun, blind, and do good amounts of damage late game.
Cons- Early game mana cost, stun hit box is TINY. Slow moving projectile and hard to land.
R- Not much to really say about Heimers ult. View it as FREE. Use it as much as you FEEL you need to. Getting ganked? Slow turrets will probably help. Team fight happening? Pop the ult on the way in. Your turrets will be slowing, your missiles hitting 5 instead of 3 enemies, and your grenade travels twice as fast, making it actually easy to land.
Pros- Increases the effectiveness of all his abilities.
Cons- Can't target or focus with it.
Items- It will take some time for you to know what you need when you need it. Here are the items I open with usually, but I build into them so many different ways depending on what's happening and who I'm in lane against. It also depends on how much money I go home with. I will try to stay in lane as long as possible to build an xp and gold advantage. Heimer can SUSTAIN you guys, you can stay in lane while some champs have to recall 2-3 times. The 2 universal things I live by as Heimy; Meki Pendant first and you can out mana/health sustain anyone for a long time, and if I have enough, rabadons first, always. In fact, unless I'm forced to recall, I will stay until I at least have enough to buy it out right. This may seem like a bad idea, not building it in chunks, but it works for me because the XP and gold advantage over your opponent just increases every time they b and you hold down the fort.
Deathfire grasp- Recently nerfed, builds from meki, still viable. If I can't get my rabadons I get this first.
Rabadons- Getting this early makes you snowball very hard, but it is very expensive.
WoTA- Another core part of my build. Recently nerfed as well =/
Abyssal Scepter- AP carries a problem? Not anymore, and also, DAT AP BUFF.
Archangels Staff- If I'm having a problem sustaining
Rylais- Just a damned good item.
Frozen Heart- In general I don't need this. It used to be the first thing I rushed for, but now as I've gotten better AD carries rarely get within range of me and it's the AP's that nick me. If you're having problems with the ADs, or just don't feel spammy enough, this is a good choice.
Lich Bane- I'd advise against this but I seem to be having more and more problems with AP carries as heim. This is a decent solution.
Banshees Veil- Another I'd advise against unless getting AP'd hard. If you're not trying to build AP in all of your items, you're doing it wrong.
Void Staff- Great for when people start stacking MR against you. Get that and sorc boots and continue to melt people.
Boots- Get what you need. Need to do more damage? Get sorcerers. Want to spam? Lucidity fool. Having even more problems with AP? Mercury treads.
A note on getting destroyed by AP carries- This happens to me a lot. Mercury, combined with Lich, Veil, and Abyssal makes it hilarious to watch spells bounce off your 3ft tall squishy yordle body. The downsides to this are slightly nerfed AP, and you will have shit mana regen. I only go this super MR build when I have to. It lowers your kill potential but your defense sky rockets. I've fantasized about building all that MR, and mixing in a deathcap and frozen heart at some point. That seems hilarious and effective but I've yet to try it.
Overall champion stuffs-
Mid- There's a little tune I like to sing when I play heim, "Push so hard, motherfuckers want to gank me".
That's basically midding as heim. You will push extremely hard, that's what your are best. This makes you so tasty. Warwick sees you and gets a raging wolfy erection and such. You are extremely squishy and slow, but, if you don't play like an idiot and use your range than it shouldn't be a problem. Put your turrets in front, and dart in to land missile shots on enemy waves or champs as is convenient. You should rarely pass the mid point of the lane, in mid that is, except for a few special occasions. Then just have good map awareness, peal away the second you see a threat, and choose good escape routes. I rarely get ganked to death as Heim, I often receive attempted ganks and lose a good bit of health but with that sick regen from his passive, sustain all day baby.
Solo top- Similar to mid, but you just end up playing way more passively. This is where you actually find out why heim can push so hard. It's not really he can push hard... just that he digs in like a tick and you can't take ground back. I rarely push beyond the river for the same reasons above that will be explained in a bit.
Friendly ganks- Well... 75% of the time you won't be able to help when a friendly tries to gank. That's just that. You are too slow, and your abilities lose effectiveness the more minions that are around. Aside from being able to poke with a missile, not much you can do. This is where I get most of the rage. people expect heim to be like ryze or some crap I guess who can make ganking easy for them. Heim just isn't good at it. Junglers need to spend time top and bot and leave heim to his business, or at least understand his abilities and their drawbacks.
Turret pushing and turret tanking, the 'Heimer all in'- I discovered something nifty forever ago. Enemy towers count Heims turrets as minions. What does this mean? Lets say you have a strangle set up with turrets right in front of their tower and you have 2 on cool down, mid has recalled, and all enemies accounted for. Your turrets will shred the enemy minion wave, leaving your mostly untouched wave to engage the tower. This is the time for the Heimer All In. Run in right as the minions draw turret fire, drop two turrets, and attack the tower yourself. The enemy tower will slowly work through the mobs, then your turrets. An enemy wave WILL arrive in this time. Spam missiles and grenades to weaken them so your turrets and minions get back to attacking the tower as fast as possible. At this point, it's likely just you and the turrets and maybe 1 or 2 friendly minions left. Right about this time, another friendly wave will appear, and another turret will come on cool down. So lets simplify this. Through good timing, you can get two full minions waves on the tower, while constantly auto attacking it and spamming down enemies along with your turrets hitting the tower. It does surprising amounts of damage, you just need to know when to pull out. It's extremely risky, but it gives heim the ability to solo turrets, something people would never expect. The idea of turret tanking is running into range of an enemy tower, dropping a turret to draw aggro, dropping another turret to draw aggro after that, allowing your team to knock the turret down when there isn't a friendly wave to soak the shots.
Team fights- Stay out of the way, either far in the rear or around the corner, darting out to nail people with missiles and grenades. Pop your ult for as many engagements as possible. Not having your ult active likely won't change the tide of battle much, but having it active as much as possible will allow you to simultaneously slow, stun, blind, and dps down enemy champs for a LONG time, like 6 seconds. As you see the team fight about happen, place turrets on the outside. After that is when I pop my ult. I lead into it with a volley of missiles so I know I got at least some assured damage in because the grenade is always a gamble. After that I chuck the grenade at the biggest cluster I see. That combined with 5 missiles you're tossing in there amounts for a crazy spread of damage.
In closing, the philosophy of heimer- You've heard a few word a lot at this point; Range, Safety, Damage. That is heimer. That is the mindset you should use when playing. Stay safe in your lane... while pushing aggressively with your range, and in team fights you have so much damage over time from spamming all your abilities, it increases the DPS of your team incredibly.
Hopefully this sheds a little light on the little man. Finally skills. There's nothing complicated here.
Turrets lvl1, Missiles 2, Missiles 3, Turrets 4, Turrets 5 (You now have 2 turrets), Ult 6 (for the passive cd reduc mostly), missiles 7, turrets 8, turrets 9 (They now do AoE). After that, continue to max your ult and missiles asap. Only get the grenade late game where you have AP stacked up or if you know you're a really good shot with it.
That wraps it up. Feed back is always welcome. This is a first draft with no edits so sorry if it's hard to read.