Updated for patch 1.2.
Iva isn’t played much these days, and based on that, you might think she’s weak and bottom of the barrel. But she’s actually quite strong in the right hands! So why isn’t she played more?
Well, proper positioning is essential because her M1 is shorter than most ranged M1s. She can zone from afar and she can rambo into combat, but knowing when to switch between those two can be hard, and because of that most Iva players end up suiciding or doing nothing all game.
Iva is tough for newbies to pick up, and she’s quite unforgiving in general, but very powerful when everything clicks. Not recommended as a first champion for newbies.
Boomstick is an ammo-based attack. You can attack twice with each attack firing 4 bullets in a tight cone, then a short reload before you can do it again. For all bullets to hit you have to be pretty close to the target. You can poke from mid-range with reduced damage, but hitting 2 or 3 bullets is still better than nothing.
The rhythm of shot-shot-reload is key for trading M1s. Try dancing in and out of range: in when you have bullets, out when you fire that second shot and need to reload, then weave other abilities in between. It’s tough to do in the heat of battle, and sometimes you’ll have no choice but to straight spam M1. But if nothing else, just try to maintain range.
Rocket X-67 (M2)
Iva’s Rocket deals heavy direct damage and moderate AOE splash. It’s extremely good for poking, and with the Stockpile battlerite, you can do some heavy burst against outless enemies. Rocket could even be your main source of damage in some matchups, especially when you’re severely out-ranged.
If the target is Oiled, a Rocket hit (direct or indirect) ignites the Oil and inflicts a damage-over-time that basically doubles its damage. Throw in a few Boomstick shots on top of that and you can deal a TON of pain very quickly.
Note that splash damage goes through d-barriers and counters, but you only get energy for direct hits!
Boom!: ROCKET X-67 deals 4 bonus damage.
Boom! synergizes well with Stockpile, raising the total burst damage from 52 to 60. That’s a good chunk of permanent damage, especially if you add in a few Boomstick shots. But truth be told, Boom! is good even without Stockpile because of two things: first, it gives you extra zoning pressure, and second, it allows you to use M1 > M1 > M2 to secure the orb. That’s huge!
Heavy Rocket: On direct hits, ROCKET X-67 inflicts a 1.5s Fading Snare.
Heavy Rocket is huge. When used in conjunction with Stockpile, a direct hit with the first rocket means the second rocket becomes a near-guaranteed hit. The fading snare is incredibly disruptive, so much so that it’s valuable even without the double rockets. Hit someone who your teammate is engaged on and it’ll swing things in favor of your teammate. Same if you hit someone who’s trying to run.
Stockpile: ROCKET X-67 gains 1 ability charge but cooldown is increased by 1.5s.
Stockpile is good against comps that out-range you. The double rocket hits for 52 on direct hits, but there’s a snag with how ability charges work: this battlerite increases the cooldown to 5.5 seconds, which means you have to wait 5.5s seconds per charge. That means a full 11 seconds to reset both rockets. If you fire every time it’s ready, Stockpile does nothing for you. Even so, double rocket is great for burst.
Jet Pack (Space)
Jet Pack is tough to get right because you have to know when to use it offensively and when to use it defensively. It’s mainly an escape ability, but you can get a lot of value out of the Oil if you play it right. Try to Oil as you escape so you can ignite with Rocket from afar.
But every once in a while, you’ll be in a situation where your teammate is wrecking an enemy — it may be worth the risk to use Jet Pack offensively to Oil and ignite for that extra damage. Just try not to land within melee range. Note that Jet Pack can become extremely offensive if you pick up some key battlerites. (More on that in the Build Ideas section at the end.)
Oil Blaster: Your next Boomstick after using Jet Pack inflicts Oil.
Oil Blaster is okay on its own, but surprisingly strong if you build around it. The Oil-on-next-attack buff lasts 2 seconds after Jet Packing, so your playstyle has to revolve around offensive Jet Packs to get value out of it. That’s why it pairs well with Rocket Boosters, which gives you enough mobility to space in, apply Oil, and either Flame Thrower or run back out for a Rocket.
The other option is to pair it with U-Turn, which gives you Oil on both jumps. This lets you play it a bit safer: jump in, Boomstick twice, jump back out, then long-range Rocket for the ignite. And against melees, the snare is great because it helps your accuracy and throws off their dodging rhythm.
Rocket Boosters: Jet Pack increases movement speed by 50% for 2.5s.
Rocket Boosters is situational and only valuable in certain playstyle builds. Generally speaking, a well-used Jet Pack should be more than enough to escape an engagement, and the extra haste shouldn’t be necessary. That said, it does provide a lot of cushion in case you have a few suboptimal Jet Packs, and that’s bound to happen no matter how good you are. It’s a safe choice if you’re willing to give up a slot for it.
U-Turn: After using Jet Pack you can re-activate it to fly back.
U-Turn is easy to read. Any player will half a brain will know exactly where you jumped from, so when you jump back, they’ll know exactly where to hit you. The airtime of Jet Pack also gives them time to set up their attack. The key is to jump from a spot that they can’t easily attack when you return.
Then again, you can play some mindgames with it. When you Jet Pack, a smart enemy may reserve his biggest attacks until you jump back. This gives you some time to pressure him — and maybe you don’t jump back at all. Just because you have U-Turn doesn’t mean you need to use it!
Zap provides a great shield plus extra movement speed, which can help when you or an ally are getting tunneled. Throw it on yourself during an M1 fight to give yourself an edge: the movement speed helps juke enemy attacks and the shield can eat 3-4 M1s before it dies.
And don’t forget that Zap purges debuffs! When playing against heavy debuffers like Lucie (Deadly Injection), Bakko and Blossom (Weaken), and Varesh (both Hand debuffs), you may want to save Zap to neutralize those effects. And if your teammate gets petrified or incapacitated, save them with Zap.
Blast Shield: Zap knocks nearby enemies back and grants a 30% Fading Haste that lasts 2s.
Blast Shield seems designed as a getaway from melee tunnelers due to the sizable knockback, but it’s also great against ranged pokers. The extra speed lets you close gaps, dish out M1s, juke attacks, and maintain range. You won’t often use it solely to escape — aggressive Zaps provide the most value — but when you do, you’ll love having that extra movespeed. Very useful against sticky melee comps.
Durable Shield: Zap absorbs 8 more damage and 16 more damage on allies.
Durable Shield is a safe choice, turning Iva’s respectable 28 HP shield into a strong 36 HP shield on yourself and an amazing 44 HP shield on teammates. That’s better than Bakko’s War Shout, which requires energy!
This battlerite helps a ton against bursty comps, but you have to be good with your timing. If you can’t apply Zap right before the damage hits, then you may as well skip this. It also helps when you’re trading M1s, allowing you to soak up an extra hit. In that sense, it could synergize well with the aggressiveness of Hyperspeed.
The bad thing about Durable Shield is that it presents some friction with Zap’s purge aspect: if you’re always using it to block burst damage, then you won’t have it when you need to cleanse a big debuff.
Hyperspeed: While affected by Zap, your Boomstick has no cooldown and your reload duration is decreased by 50%.
Hyperspeed is a really powerful battlerite. Over its duration, you can get off three full sets of double Boomstick in rapid succession. That’s a lot of damage, especially when you’re up close and can hit every bullet — all told, the potential burst is up to 16×6 = 96 damage.
Tazer is good at stopping channeled abilities like Sirius’s Astral Beam or casted abilities like Ezmo’s Chaos Grip. If you hit them at any point during channel or cast, they’ll get stunned — and the stun is long enough to get off both Boomstick shots (if close range) or hit them with a direct Rocket (if long range). But it does NOT interrupt counters!
As useful as it is though, you’re mostly better off saving this cooldown to use Concussion Shot instead (the EX version of Tazer).
Conductor: Tazer bounces towards an additional target.
Conductor is really good in 3v3, on tight maps, and against totem champs like Blossom (Tree) and Pestilus (Queen). When enemies are forced to clump, the bouncing Tazer is near impossible to dodge, especially if you bounce it off of a stationary object (like the middle orb). But it’s less effective against comps with counters: sometimes you’ll want to Tazer one enemy but can’t because another enemy’s counter is up.
EMP: Tazer dispels positive buffs from enemies in an area.
With EMP, Tazer dispels ALL positive effects on hit. Not just the target you hit, but everyone around them too. The enemy doesn’t even have to trigger the stun! This is very powerful against Lucie’s Barrier, Bakko’s War Shout, Rook’s Berserk, and other scary good buffs. Land a few smart purging Tazers and you can flip entire battles around. Against certain comps, it synergizes really well with Conductor.
Igniting Spark: Tazer deals 8 damage and inflicts Burning Oil when triggered while the target is affected by Oil.
Igniting Spark gives Iva a way to ignite Oiled targets from a distance that isn’t so telegraphed as charging up a ROCKET X-67. The problem is that the target needs to trigger Tazer’s stun for the Oil to ignite — and that in itself is a somewhat telegraphed move. You’re better off saving Tazer to stun when you need it rather than trying to ignite with it. Better yet, save the cooldown for Concussion Shot instead.
Flame Thrower (EX-M2)
Flame Thrower is so strong that it can melt steel beams. It sprays in a tight cone shape about the same distance as Boomstick, but the damage is channeled and ticks over time. It’s also super reliable for igniting Oil because it’s impossible to miss. But it’s fine to use without Oil too, especially when the target has no recovery health!
The best part about Flame Thrower is that it eats through counters and d-barriers, giving you a way to punish brainless Freyas, Shifus, and Ruh Kaans. Beware that it costs an expensive 50 energy though, so be very intentional about when you use it.
Concussion Shot (EX-E)
Concussion Shot is a fast projectile that bonks the target for 10 damage and Incapacitates for an eternal 3 seconds. This is extremely strong in 2v2, giving your team a long time to punish the other enemy without heals or peels. It’s useful in 3v3 too of course, but proper target selection becomes much harder.
With an 8 second cooldown, Concussion Shot can’t exactly be spammed, but you should still use it often. Prioritize disabling healers so you can run down the non-healers, but it’s also fine to incap non-healers if the healer is getting punished. Just never get it reflected. NEVER!
Tractor Beam (R)
Tractor Beam is Iva’s hardest ability to get right. It creates a d-barrier (that absorbs projectiles and melee attacks) and a beam (that snares and pulls targets towards you). But your turn speed slows to a crawl so you have to be smart: badly timed Tractor Beams can actually kill you if you aren’t careful.
Use Tractor Beam to stave off heavy melee pressure. It gives you 2 seconds to wait for another cooldown to reset, such as Jet Pack. It can also be used to block big-damage projectiles — just be sure to cancelcast afterwards because being stuck in the full duration of the channel is essentially a 2-second self-root.
Tractor Pulse: Tractor Beam stuns all enemies caught in the beam for 0.5s when the effect ends and cooldown is reduced by 3s.
Tractor Pulse is really good. It turns this defensive-only ability into an offensive one with a lot of threat. If an enemy has no outs, walking out the snare-pull is almost impossible if you keep it right on top of him.
If the enemy does have outs, they now have a choice: use it or get stunned. Forcing an out for your out is not a bad trade. Once stunned, hit them with a Concussion Shot to further disable them, load up a rocket, or just blast away with Boomstick. Note that the stun only goes off if you channel the full duration (cancelcast will not trigger it).
The cooldown reduction is also useful of course, particularly against melee-heavy comps. Those 3 seconds could be the difference between living or dying versus rushdown.
Machine Gun (F)
Machine Gun is okay on paper, able to deal 140 total damage (more if you can line up 2+ targets in your shot), but it’s situational and I personally try not to use it very often.
First, the target can jump behind a wall and out of line-of-sight. Second, you can get interrupted. Third, you can get attacked while channeling. Fourth, you’re self-rooted for almost 3 seconds, which puts you behind in positioning. Fifth, you lose ALL energy if you have to cancelcast. Sixth, it triggers counters, doesn’t go through d-barriers, and can get reflected.
Don’t get me wrong: Machine Gun is good. But the stars have to align for it to be worth 100 energy. You can usually get better value out of your EX abilities instead.
All Systems Operational: Machine Gun inflicts Oil on all nearby enemies and launches a ROCKET X-67 when firing the last bullet.
All Systems Operational sounds good in theory: the Oil slows down targets, you can hit more of your bullets, and the extra Rocket caps it off with heavy direct damage and burn damage. But you have to channel the whole 2.7 seconds for the Rocket to fire, and that’s ample time for enemies to get out of the way. Only the Oil aspect is guaranteed, so you have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it just for that. Hint: it isn’t. Not to mention that Machine Gun is itself situational, so getting a battlerite for it is ill-advised.
Gunge: Oil further reduces movement speed by 10% and duration increases by 1.5s.
Gunge is really good, but may feel awkward to put in your loadout unless you build around it. It buffs Oil up to a 30% snare that lasts for 4.5 seconds. Not only is that an eternity in Battlerite time, but it helps you to better land your attacks on targets.
It synergizes well with Oil Blaster and Hyperspeed if you want to play extra aggressive: Jet Pack > Oil > Zap > M1 until Hyperspeed wears off > Flame Thrower or Rocket. The extended Oil duration lets you get off all your hits and still finish with an ignition with time to spare. But this is a risky all-in combo that blows all of your outs, so use it with care.
Inspiration: Increases your maximum energy by 25% and energy gained from abilities is increased by 10%.
As with most other champions that rely heavily on EX abilities, Inspiration is never a bad pick on Iva. More Concussion Shots? More Flame Throwers? More Tractor Beams? Those are all helpful, so it ends up buffing your offensive and defensive potential. But fitting Inspiration into a loadout can be tough because most builds require all five slots. If you can make it work, go for it.
Iva has a bit of everything: short-range burst, long-range poke, near-instant escape, shield for peeling, long-duration hard disable, anti-counter Flame Thrower, and more. This is all good, but it does mean her playstyle isn’t so straightforward. She’s a multitasker, and you have to know when to do what.
Boomstick and Rockets. Your bread and butter. It’s a bit predictable but you can cycle M1 > M1 > M2, which gives M1 time to reload while M2 is firing. The same rhythm is also good for firing off Tazers and Concussion Shots.
Speaking of, use Concussions often. The range isn’t very long so you have to be careful about when you use it, but with a cast time of 0.5 seconds and a not-so-prominent animation, enemies may not see it coming. If you’re off fighting in a 1v1, incap them and jump over to help a teammate instead. Or use the incap to set up a rocket (or double rocket).
M1 blasting is easy enough, but Tazers are key to Iva’s threat. Well-timed Tazers allow for guaranteed Rockets, and those direct hits hurt whether Oiled or not. But once you spot an enemy who has no outs, get close and chunk away with full M1 hits. And bear in mind, you don’t have to be in strict melee range! Champion hitboxes are big enough that you can get full-damage shots from even half the range of M1.
Jet Pack and Zap are all you have in terms of escape, and that’s why good positioning is so crucial for Iva. Try to maintain a distance between M1 range and Rocket range so you can put out damage without getting too close. This is tricky because most champions can close gaps extremely fast, so you have to be aware of what they can do.
When in doubt, you can fall back to max Rocket range and poke from afar, all the while waiting for someone to initiate, whether your teammate or the enemy. Once the enemy is busy being engaged, you can enter the fray — or if you have an aggressive build, you can wait until an enemy strays from his team and then engage.
Zap is for two things: purging debuffs or situations where you’re getting hurt but you aren’t in huge trouble. Use it as a semi-out that lets you ramp up offensive pressure.
Stockpile makes orb snatching easy, especially with the Boom! battlerite (perfect 60 damage). Without it, you’ll want to M1 > M2 > M2, which is slightly less reliable. If the orb is 58 HP or below, you can instead M1 > M1 > M2, which is faster and more reliable. Or you can try to snipe with one Rocket as soon as the orb gets under 26 HP (or if you’re really good, snipe it with the 12-damage splash).
If you’re zoned out of mid, you can use Tractor Beam to pull the orb while a teammate breaks it. With Tractor Pulse, you might also catch enemies and stun them before they can break it.
In 1v1, you can use Concussion Shot to incap and then steal the orb.
- Oil Blaster (Space)
- Rocket Boosters (Space)
- Blast Shield (Q)
- Gunge (Perk)
- Inspiration (Perk)
This is a super annoying build for enemies, especially if they’re melee. Gunge makes your Oil a nightmare with its massive snare and duration, and Oil Blaster lets you Jet Pack in and apply it reliably. While aggressive Jet Packs are normally bad, Rocket Boosters keeps you mobile and lets you run out (if in danger) or chase down targets (if you have the upper hand). If you’re still in trouble, Blast Shield gives you another out. As for Inspiration? It gives you the energy you need to use Flame Thrower on Oiled targets.
- Boom! (M2)
- Stockpile (M2)
- U-Turn (Space)
- Rocket Boosters (Space)
- Blast Shield (Q)
This build is played further back, hitting Rockets from afar and jumping in for M1s when opportunities present. U-Turn requires smart usage because, again, enemies know exactly where you’ll return. Poke with Rockets, jump in with Jet Pack, do some damage, jump out, and reset. Blast Shield is there in case you need help. This safe build works equally well against ranged and melee because you’re so mobile with U-Turn, Rocket Boosters, and Blast Shield.
I don’t recommend Iva for newbies. The delicate balance between offense and defense can be a bit much until you understand the gameplay fundamentals. But once you do, Iva is quite strong and helpful in most team comps and very fun to play.