(AP) Ekko is a meelee range magic damage champion, just like Elise, Diana or Evelynn.
He falls under the category of bursters/divers with high amount of magic damage burst, great mobility and the ability to travel back in time and get himself out of an over-extended position. If I were to choose two most similar champions in League of Legends – that would be Zed and Ekko. They both have gap-close, strong burst of damage and an ultimate allowing them to escape back to safety. Their kit makes them a perfect pick to long-range poking mages like Syndra, Orianna or Veigar. If Ekko is able to catch a squeeshy immoble target out of position – he will most like score an easy kill.
Ekko’s abilities here.
In a long-run, just like all divers/assassins/bursters, Ekko becomes a real threat in mid game with his first item completed, which will most likely be either Hextech Protobelt or Lich Bane. Both are very aggressive items that significantly enhance Ekko’s burst capability, giving him enough damage to take down opponents with one combo rotation. After getting boots and his first item an experienced Ekko player will most likely be looking for skirmishes in the jungle or bot side of the map. He will want to control the vision of the river to make sure he can catch you off by surprise.
Another alternative playstyle for AP Ekko would be to transfer his presense to the botlane and abuse his insane diving capability. With that being said, let’s learn how you can counter Ekko.
So how should you play against Ekko? Let’s go step by step.
Everything starts with the lane and, of course, depends on the match up.
The first thing you need to keep in mind that level 1 is rarely about poking or killing a lane opponent. A lot of times it’s about wave manipulation and csing.
Ekko has a very strong level 1 because of his Q’s strong pushing power. A good Ekko will use it to hard shove the wave and force you to loose cs under your tower, which may not look like a big deal at first glance, but as you move up the ladder will become a decent advantages that can evenatually become a beginning of Ekko’s snowball.
So tip #1
Match Ekko’s shove on level 1 and don’t let him crush the wave under your tower. Use your auto attacks and AOE spells to make sure your next wave meets their first wave outside tower’s range.
As Ekko reaches level 3, things will change. Instead of using his Q on minion waves he will now be trying to jump on you and land his 3-hit combo to proc his passive + electrocute combo. Knowing this, we can easily negate his damage and aggression by simply not allowing him to land his 3-spell combo on you.
Do not allow Ekko to hit you 3 times (spells and attacks). If you force him to use his E but then fail him to land his combo, he will waste a lot of mana and not do any significant damage as his main source of burst is the combination of his spells, not the spells separately.
Another sly trick Ekko players love is to walk inside the bush while instantly charging his W and walk back out of the bush, hoping you won’t realize he used W and will stay in the zone. Make sure you are aware of that and try to consistently move around while csing or poking. Ekko’s biggest disadvantage is a lack of point-click spells – all his combo depends on landing skillshots. If you can predict Ekko’s playstyle – it becomes very easy to avoid his spells and stay safe throughout the laning phase.
In mid game Ekko’s damage raises significantly due to Lich Bane or Hextech Protobelt so at this point of the game the most important tip I can give is to have vision around and watch your positioning.
How To Counter Ekko – Big Picture Strategy
As any other (smart) diver or assassin, Ekko will keep his eye on squeeshy targets on the map and highly likely caster midlane mages or AD carry/squeeshy support. Make sure you respect Ekko’s damage and know the range of his gap close (which is fairly low).
Generally speaking, all assassins favor from fighting in close space, such as dragon pit, jungle corridors or the river. This way they can do the voodoo they that do do – catch squeeshy backline out of surprise and destroy them. If you are playing an immoble champion, the best thing you can do is beware your positioning, the place of the teamfight and possible ways you can get ambushed by Ekko. Visition is your best friend here. Make sure you ask your support to help you with map vision.
If you did everyhing right – you will leave Ekko no choice but to spend his cooldowns and damage on front line. This will allow you to walk in the fight and do damage without being too scared of your life (since you know Ekko is out of cooldowns).
This playstyle is not unique to just playing vs Ekko – this works against any other assassing like Talon, Zed, Khazix or Evelynn. In a big picture, this category of champions are relatively innocent in laning phase and their success heavily depends on how they perform during early game in terms of farming, proper recall timing, responding to junglers skirmishes or participating in other types of early-game fights.
If assassins get a lead in early game – they will terrorize mid game and will pretty much guarantee their team will end up mid game with an advantage.
If assassins get punished in early game – they will build their first item later than they are supposed to and will not be able to become a big threat neither in mid nor in late game.
Keeping in mind the playstyle of assassins in League of Legends will allow you to strategically look at the game and think twice before engaging into fights with them, Remember – assassins are just like predarots in wild nature – they are strong and scary as long as they have food. However, once you deprive them their prey – they die from hunger.
I hope after reading this article you will reconsider your playing style and will look at the big picture of playing against agressive assassins like Ekko. Rather than committing in every single fight, remember that assassins NEED fights while you may not necassarily need it.
To your success.