I'm going to explain the build and strategy I've had the most success with as Countess. Enough foreplay.
→→→→→→→... you get the point.
Max Dark Tide first, its your main nuke. Great for clearing waves, securing kills to feed your insane regeneration, and stealing orb-prime.
Then max out Blade Siphon, the sustain is just too good. No, it doesn't make you a good jungler, but it gives you great sustain when laning.
Max Shadow Slip last, but get a point in it first. It can be used to dodge the majority of nukes and crowd control abilities.
Level Feast whenever you can. Remember that this ability can be used to interrupt any channeling, and can be cast mid-air... Also, it hurts.
• Get farm and levels before trying anything funny.
• Start a slow-push.. seriously, knowing how to manage minions is almost as OP as wards.
• Gank to give your team an advantage.
• Always keep an eye out for anything that will turn into a teamfight, you need to be there and take out the enemy team's main damage dealers because everyone else will be trying to kill the rampage who is building health and armor.
• Try to exploit any advantage your team has from successful ganks or team-fights by hard-pushing a lane that isn't slow-pushing by itself.
• Set up ganks by LETTING the enemy push and overextend.
• Last-hit all the things until fully built.
The Warlord OR The Centurion
You are vulnerable and weak, this will be the case until level 5. Stay safe, try to lasthit. A good strategy is to just focus on getting to level 5 without dying. Did I mention you should try not to die?
Try to freeze the minions close to the friendly tower in your lane so that you can last-hit as safely as possible.
Guardian's WardMajor StrikeMajor StrikeMajor Strike This is the first card you get, and the last card you upgrade. Wards 2 op, do NOT throw away.
If you are new to the MOBA genre you might not realize the total supremacy a firmly planted ward can grant your team. That is OK, because this is the day you start spamming wards all over the place, of course it is also important to remove enemy wards in order to deny them all the power you possibly can. Your reign of tyranny begins NOW!
It is always important to get an explosive start, this is easily achievable by buying 1-point upgrades to get the fully upgraded bonus as fast as possible.
Fountain SpikeBasic ManaBasic ManaMinor Strike This will give you the mana-pool you need during the beginning of the game, and some extra damage.
Adamant EdgeMinor StrikeMinor StrikeLesser Health While damage and mana is well and good health points come and go as they please, and having only 200 more of them will do wonders for your survivability.
Replace these with late-game cards when there is no more room, one at the time.
Gift of the RainsBasic SparkBasic SparkBasic Spark Your 2nd favorite card, second only to your wards. The health and mana-regen combined with Blade Siphon will give you a constant sustain during late-game. Once fully built, your only reason to recall to base will be to take a shortcut to go consume the fool trying to push into your territory and his minion-wave... or to refill your wards.
You have damage, a large enough mana-pool, some extra health and most importantly a ward in every nook and cranny because your entire team is warding and de-warding like bosses(I know, one can only dream).. You might even have a few kills under your belt!
Its time to get Nasty.
I have concluded that the manner in which I wanted to visualize the efficiency of these two cards for you are unsuitable for children.
Your main assassination targets are Rangers and Casters that focus on high damage output, depending on the experience of the people you get matched up against it might be an idea to put one Pierce on each of the Voidsteel Daggers instead of the Strike cards, maybe even consider turning a Voidsteel Dagger into a 12-point with a bunch of penetration, and using an Adamant Edge as a 9-point. Your call.
You should already be cutting trough enemies like a steak-knife trough melting garlic butter on a medium-raw steak with baked potatoes and pepper-sauce next to a full glass of Vidigal vintage 2013.. and no I don't care if any of you wine-snobs think that is the wrong wine to for a steak, its delicious and you can drink the same wine to your desert without getting that weird after-taste.
Build one 12-point Adamant Edge at the time, you'll be replacing a 6-point card to get each of your 12-point cards. Start by replacing the Fountain Spike. Keep in mind that you will have a slightly lower mana-pool, but this is also the fastest way of increasing your damage without damaging you.
Adamant EdgeMajor StrikeMajor StrikeMajor Strike
Adamant EdgeMajor StrikeMajor StrikeMajor Strike
Optionally, build one Adamant Edge and one Drink the Spirits if you're in need of a larger health-pool..
Drink the Spirits HealthGreater HealthGreater Health
Really, the damage you should be dealing by now is... Yup. feel free to get some more health or something, but remember that you will be slightly lowering your damage-output until you finish your Guardian's Ward.
THEN you finish your Guardian's Ward.
Countess is a physical caster with massive burst.
Focus on staying safe early-game
Remember to help with both warding, and de-warding. Wards 2 OP.
Always have at least 2 card points of penetration, this is enough to melt trough natural armor.
If you are not a killing-machine by mid-game, you are doing it wrong.
Use your wards and empty your harvesters.
Building additional health increases the heals you get from your passive drastically as it heals you for a percentage of your max health.
Countess is both hungry and thirsty, get a higher manapool early-game, and manaregen during mid-game. You can get rid of the flat mana during lategame unless you put it on your ward.
Wards 2 OP.
Why not armor?
Armor is well and good, but when all of your armor is penetrated or shreded the size of your health-pool is the only thing that decides how much punishment you can take, also Blade Siphon's passive increases in strength the larger your health-pool is.
Why only optional penetration upgrades?
Your primary targets will be rangers, other casters and all the main damage dealers on the other team, they don't always build a lot of armor.
Why not CDR?
Personal preference and play-style, feel free to squeeze in some.
Why not a 9 or 12 point Fountain Spike?
You gain a larger mana-pool when leveling up, this item simply becomes unnecessary and the card-points are eventually better spent in damage or health.
Then why keep the Gift of the Rains?
Because you need to regenerate mana during mid and late-game, this is because you won't be recalling as often if at all.
Why not just use Brawler's Ward?
The extra large mana-pool becomes unnecessary, the ability to put out wards does not.
But you are keeping Gift of the Rains!
Yo, I explained this already!
I don't want to use Gift of the Rains..
That is completely up to you, tell me what you chose to use in the comment section.
Is attack-speed good on Countess?
No, her basic attack scales the same way any caster's basic attack scales.
Are you sure attack-speed isn't good on Countess?
YES! its a ******* waste of card-points, just like on Gideon!