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Mordekaiser Build Guide by dana44

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League of Legends Build Guide Author dana44

[7.7] Mordekaiser is OP again

dana44 Last updated on April 19, 2017
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Ability Sequence

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Ability Key Q
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Ability Key W
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Ability Key E
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Ability Key R

Masteries

12 Ferocity

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18 Cunning

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0 Resolve

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Threats to Mordekaiser with this build

Threat
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Threat Champion Notes
1
Riven let her jump into you and your minions all day long
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Malphite
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Shen
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Introduction

What is Mordekaiser?Mordekaiser is what Riot calls a juggernaut. He can take a beating like a tank and do damage like a carry. Even in ranked games your opponents will be left wondering how you are killing their tanks and surviving attacks from their carries. You better get used to comments like the this as you carry your team to victory.

Let's be honest, no champ is universally over powered. Everybody would play him, everybody would ban him, and Riot would fix that right away. In the right situation Mordekaiser is one of the strongest champions in the game. Riot compensates for his OP strengths by making him slow, weak at the start, and void any form of crowd control, initiate, or escape.

These disadvantages make him hard to just pick up, but special. He is well worth it. No other champions play like him. You're free to blast your abilities as fast as your cool down allows because you have no mana to worry about. When you kill an opponent with your ultimate active on them you get a ghost version of them to control with the ALT key. You can even get a ghost version of the dragon simply by doing damage to it in a battle your team wins, even if your ultimate is on cool down! As great as it is to play the game 6v5 due to having the dragon on your side it is even better to turn a 5v5 fight into a 6v4 by killing an enemy, especially their adc. With that of advantage your team can't help but win.

At the extreme end of dominance once you've hit level 2 on your Children of the Grave and have a couple damage items you can solo the dragon and then use that to solo the baron!

At the end when you roam around annihilating opponents with your OP damage and a pet dragon the entire map is your domain - you're the Kaiser!


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Pros / Cons

Pros
    + one of the most damaging champions in the game.
    + How fun is it to do 6 vs. 4? Get their carry and earn a penta kill
    + ghost dragon will usually push over a tower
    + great wave clear with W and E to split push
    + can solo the baron with level 2 ghost dragon and two damage items
    + if ahead will carry
    + currently off meta so will not be banned
    + can be built in many ways

Cons
    - weak start
    - no crowd control
    - slowest champion in game
    - terrible mobility
    - short-ranged and kiteable
    - can't initiate
    - no escape
    - nearly impossible to come back with
    - buggy (search for "Mordekaiser bugs")
He was reworked to be a carry. Then slightly reworked to be a juggernaut. He can still carry with the best of them, but can now sustain alone in a lane. Consider him a mobile turret. A powerful, slow, fragile turret.

Also, there isn't any better ult in the game than having the dragon fight on your side.


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Top or Bottom

One of his powers is his unique ability to earn bonus XP when last hitting minions with other champions around. In theory this lets him out level the other team's carry and lead the team to victory.

However the current bonus is only about 17% more experience from minions that he last hits. This doesn't speed up his leveling fast enough to overcome his weak start to be a good general bottom carry. He just can't get to his target. There are better carries for your team out there, despite his Harvesters of Sorrow XP bonus. Take him top or mid.

The exception is if you can duo with a support like Blitzcrank that can pull their carry to you. That gimmick changes everything and you will destroy.


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Harvesters of Sorrow

Harvesters of Sorrow is what can make Mordekaiser a great champion to have on a team. It isn't the Sunfire Cape style damage this does that makes it great, it is that you can heal yourself and an ally for 190 + 30% AP or 380 + 60% AP if you can catch two champions in a team fight. Injecting hundreds of HP to both you and an ally in a team fight is a game changer.

It provides a speed boost to get Mordekaiser closer to an ally. This lets you follow your team's initiator into a fight or follow an ally away from a fight if things go poorly. Use this to get close enough that you kill their ADC at the back with Children of the Grave on them.

When you are damaged during the laning phase you just go for a stroll to the nearest jungle camp and activate Harvesters of Sorrow. You can leave the monsters for your jungler, you just want to get a heal from them.

Harvesters of Sorrow makes Mordekaiser look deceptively close to death. Iron Man shield converts a significant portion of the the ability power damage he does a shield, so with Harvesters of Sorrow up he has good resistance to damage.

All this health and healing makes him a juggernaut, not a tank. If your team needs a tank there are better tank champions out there. However he works great as an off-tank to rotate in with the primary.


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Runes

Runes

Greater Quintessence of Ability Power
3

Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
9

Greater Mark of Magic Penetration
9

Greater Seal of Scaling Armor
9
Mordekaiser really builds off his ability power. If you can land your third Mace of Spades you'll kill anything other than their tank. However he can't be a glass cannon, we need a bit of a balance.

For offence we need three Ability Power Quintessences and magic penetration.

Get scaling armour seals. Flat only helps before level 6, especially the first three levels, but during this time Mordekaiser is so weak he needs to avoid all ins anyway. Just be patient and only engage an enemy within Harvesters of Sorrow and keeping poking with Siphon of Destruction. Scaling HP can work too, especially for mid, but armour is usually better since you're more likely lane against an attack damage enemy and once laning is over you run into their carry you're most likely to find they're AD too.

Very few champions do much ability power damage before they've bought some magic items, so scaling magic resist is almost universally better than flat.


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Masteries

Masteries
5/5
1/1
5/5
1/1
5/5
1/1
5/5
1/1
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1/1
Stormraider's Surge is best on Mordekaiser. This speed boost lets you stick to your opponent to get the third hit. More importantly it lets you escape after the kill if you need to.

This is better than making your 3rd hit stronger with Thunderlord's Decree or even Deathfire Touch . Deathfire Touch seems like a fantastic keystone for a mage like Mordekaiser. However his abilities areall AoE and only receive half the benefit. A bit more AP can be bought with items, the utility of Stormraider's Surge can't. Always get Stormraider's Surge .

Working back from Stormraider's Surge we can skip obvious choices and review the advantages of the ones that require consideration.

Precision is 1.5 + 0.25 magic penetration per level for a total of 6 at 18. Add that to the 9*0.87 magic penetration runes for a total of 13.83. That means with either 15 magic penetration from Liandry's Torment or Sorcerer's Shoes you have a total of just almost 30 - enough for nearly 100% penetration on non-melee champions when you hit 18!

Bandit vs. Dangerous Game has no clear winner. Restoring 5% of your missing health and mana is only going to help in a multi champion battle where it lets you get a kill and stay alive for one more hit. This situation almost never happens. It is basically a wasted selection in most games during laning. However in a team fight you'll usually at least get an assist, so the health restore is actually good. Bandit on the other hand gives you more gold to get another item during laning every single match. It is especially useful against another melee champion where every hit is worth half a minion kill. If you're ever behind Bandit helps you from falling even further behind so I slightly favour it.

Savagery over Wanderer is another tough choice since you always need more movement speed. The extra damage to make last hitting minions during his handicapped start easier makes Savagery the winner.

Bounty Hunter over Double Edged Sword . Double Edged Sword is great for assassins, but not juggernauts since it is only useful in a 1v1. You get a flat 5% advantage, but the 2.5% disadvantage is multiplied by the number of champions hitting you. Bad Deal! With Bounty Hunter you don't have any penalty and over the course of the game your scaling only improves until it is much better than Double Edged Sword .

Natural Talent wins over Vampirism because if you need health you'll just walk into the jungle and steal some. Natural Talent 's bonus AP and AD is like a free bonus set of Runes.

Fresh Blood works well with Bandit to really encourage those first hits.

Sorcery is better than Fury because this makes all his abilities better, not just his mace of spades.


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Item Build Order

Item Sequence

Boots of Swiftness
900

Hextech Gunblade
3400

Rylai's Crystal Scepter
2600

Sterak's Gage
2600

Liandry's Torment
3100

Guardian Angel
2400
The only core items you'llalways get early are the Ruby Crystal and Boots of Speed. Ideally you will dominate your lane and build straight to the Hextech Gunblade, but this is usually easier said than done, so you'll have to settle for a few components of late game items.

If you're doing well certainly build toward Hextech Gunblade, but if you're having a hard time finish Rylai's Crystal Scepter first or slip in an early Chain Vest or Negatron Cloak depending on your opponent's primary damage type. When you face a difficult AD opponent Seeker's Armguard is always the first item to complete so you can win the lane phase

You build Hextech Gunblade as early as makes sense. It gives you the damage you need to be feared. Since your abilities cost health the heal is very nice to get early.

If the opposing champion is slippery or pokey Rylai's Crystal Scepter better to finish first. You need the slow it provides for any chance to close in for the kill or to escape.

Eventually you'll have Boots of Swiftness, Hextech Gunblade, and Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Rylai's Crystal Scepter is usually enough defense for the laning phase, but it won't be enough for a team fight. Since you'll have great damage just from your level advantage coming out of a single champion lane and the Hextech Gunblade you're going to be a big slow relatively squishy target in team fights. You'll need a defensive item. If you've already built a component of Guardian Angel/ Zz'Rot Portal finish it, but otherwise build Sterak's Gage since it gives bonus attack damage.

Liandry's Torment is such a solid fifth item. It has the penetration you need in just the Haunting Guise ingredient, HP that works so well on juggernauts, and a percent health bonus to take down big items. With this you'll solo the baron with a ghost drake in no time flat. This item is good enough in some situations you can even use it as your fourth item for defence. This is risky since it makes you assassinatable in a team fight, so get it fifth unless you're certain you'll be able to stay alive.

The final item depends on what you're up against. When in game you can hold down the tab key to see all the items all the champions have. If you see a few magic resist items on the enemy the get Void Staff. If you want to be a split pushing monster you can get Nashor's Tooth or Zz'Rot Portal. If the team is overwhelmingly just AP or AD you can get Zhonya's Hourglass or Abyssal Scepter. Usually the enemy team is balanced and you already do enough damage to kill them all, so Guardian Angel is the best item because they will focus you.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Sterak's Gage, and Guardian Angel are very cheap. If the match goes long you'll have gold to spend and no slots left. Replace your boots with Luden's Echo when this happens.


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Core Item Details

Boots of Swiftness take Mordekaiser from being the slowest champion in the game to average. The early counter for Mordekaiser's damage is to simply walk away from him. This fixes that. So many champions have a slow or will buy an item with it. This negates the enemy's investment enough that it is the usual core set of boots.

Mercury's Treads are the exception to Boots of Swiftness when you need tenacity to lane against a champion with a lot of cc like Ryze, Lux, or Annie.

Rylai's Crystal Scepter is incredibly important. It doesn't have impressive stats, but the utility of this item is priceless. Mordekaiser has no gap closer or escape until you get this. Hitting an opponent with your Children of the Grave will slow them for 10 seconds so your team can get the kill.

Hextech Gunblade has all the stats Mordekaiser wants. The only downside is the build path is painful and slow. But it is worth it, even though heal is reduce to 5% instead of 15% because Mordekaiser's abilities count as Area of Effect. The active is a fifth ability to make short ranged Mordekaiser viable. In a team fight the damage you do with a Dragon ghost can let you retreat and be healed enough to return to the battle.

Sterak's Gage is an unsung hero. Gold efficiency is a terrible method to compare items since it assumes everything is equal, but because it demonstrates it how great this item bursts at is I'm using it anyway. Mordekaiser has the highest base damage in the game, so Sterak's Gage scales better on him than any other champion bringing it up to 90% efficiency at level 18. It is special because for the eight seconds Sterak's Fury bonus attack damage is active it jumps to 126% efficient. The best part is with the hp from Rylai's Crystal Scepter and Liandry's Torment the 30% health shield is worth another 87% for a total of 214% efficiency when the enemy tries to burst you. The non-math way to describe this: you get a free bonus suit of Warmog's Armor in every team fight. Buy this as your primary defence item every time you haven't already built towards Guardian Angel or Zz'Rot Portal.

To dominate the team fights the next item to get is Liandry's Torment. To understand what makes this to great you need to know there are two kinds of champions in terms of built in Magic Resistance. Ranged champions have a flat 30 magic resist and melee champions have 32.1 that grows per level. Liandry's Torment with Magic Penetration Runes and the Precision Mastery will give you almost 100% penetration on range champions at the end of the match. When you finish this you gain 300 health making Sterak's Gage and Siphon of Destruction even better. The cherry on top is the 6% current health damage to take out big champions, which is doubled while under the 1 second slows of Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

Guardian Angel is the usual last item because you will buy it when you're ahead in levels. Top and Mid champions end the laning phase at a higher level than the jungler or the bottom pair. You should be able to maintain or extend this lead by occasionally using Mordekaiser's incredible pushing power any time a lane is too close to your turrets. Going for a defensive item like this is a great way to deny the opposing team the benefits of a kill. Remember killing a champion grants 50% of the experience required to reach the slain champion's next level ±7% per level difference. Don't let the enemy team kill you, especially their adc that will be a few levels behind. They'll be hunting you. This keeps you alive with both armour and magic resist in a single item.

Zz'Rot Portal is a valid alternative to Guardian Angel, especially if this is your fourth item and you can use it for much of the match. This the best use of this is not the tower pushing help, it is the huge movement speed boost in the lanes. With all the hp juggernaut Mordekaiser has this is a good fit, but in practice I don't usually get another objective because of it, so I usually build Guardian Angel.

For those rare times you don't do enough damage Void Staff is the answer. It slightly under performs Rabadon's Deathcap for damage against melee champions, but once any magic resist comes into play this does more damage. As a bonus it is just 2/3 of the price! If the enemy has built magic resist instead of offensive items this will make them regret their choice.


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Occasional Item Details

Seeker's Armguard is the best item to buy in a lane against an AD champion. It is occasional because Zhonya's Hourglass isn't core. It is good, good enough to often be used on pro Mordekaiser builds. But you can't land its active 100% of the time. Sterak's Gage and Guardian Angel never miss.

Abyssal Scepter is also decent, but usually only built if you need magic resist and you've already gone down the path of Seeker's Armguard and you'd rather build Zhonya's Hourglass than sell.

A dual defensive/offensive item build with Zhonya's Hourglass and Abyssal Scepter is strong and viable. The Seeker's Armguard start is the strongest start Mordekaiser has. Don't be afraid of taking this path - it is better in practice to be on a slightly suboptimial path from a theory point of view and a level up than be a level down on some mathematically optimized generic "ultimate build." Building the right items to counter your opponent is always better than memorizing a single build order useful against an unknown opponent.

The only reason you don't always go down this dual hybrid offence/defence item build is a single armour/magic resist item like Guardian Angel matches this pair from a defence point of view and leaves a slot open for an even better damage item like Void Staff to do slightly more damage.

Nashor's Tooth is an honourable mention. It is a great item with a huge amount of damage and great cool down, but I rarely can buy this because the other items are even better together. You know the saying about something being greater than the sum of its parts? This item is great, but it just doesn't compliment the other items enough to be in the usual build. If you need a ton of dps to split push, have an ally that can bring a champion to you to assassinate as quickly as possible, or are playing on Twisted Treeline keep this item in your tool box because it really is a decent item on Mordekaiser.

Luden's Echo is your seventh item in those rare marathon matches. Since Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Sterak's Gage, Guardian Angel, and Void Staff are so cheap you'll fill your slots before anybody else. At this point in the match it is 100% team fighting so the increased damage and loss of movement speed is a worth while trade off.


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Items to avoid

Sorcerer's Shoes is going to raise eye brows because it is actually a great item, sometimes. It gives movement speed and around 10% more damage, so you should love this. All the other boots every champion will buy also give just 45 movement speed , so other players will continue to just walk away from you. You're basically a turret. These are great if Blitzcrank can feed you enemies, but when you're on your own in the lane you have to catch your prey by yourself and these give no utility. What good is more damage if you can't use any of it? These can work against squishy melee champions like Riven that jump into you to do damage because you will out damage them. But even in this case if the opponent is smart they'll just stop fighting you until their jungler can come turn it into a 2v1. Extra damage won't win that, but more speed may let you escape. Just take the cheaper utility of Boots of Swiftness and get on to building a proper damage item with the extra gold.

The Dark Seal and Mejai's Soulstealer should only be bought when you are hard counter and are certain you won't ever die. Expect to get cc'd and bursted and lose all your stacks against a team with any skill if you buy these.

Hextech Protobelt-01 breaks my heart. It has everything a Mordekaiser player could ever want. Yet for some reason it doesn't work well. I expect the exception is against a squishy champion that mostly sits back and pokes like Teemo you'd want this instead of Hextech Gunblade.

Trinity Force leads to attack damage builds and that just isn't optimal. Although it is probably the single best item in the game on its own, it just doesn't slide into a great build.
WIP: @ Critical Smite EUW asked why I didn't like this so I had to play a few games with it to make sure I was current. tbh it is ok. More movement, extra on hit, and best of all 40% more attack speed and 20% cool down really help. I can actually see a good tank build with Trinity Force, Hextech Gunblade, Dead Man's Plate, Spirit Visage, and Sterak's Gage. It looks like I'll update my guide soon with this alternative path.

Rabadon's Deathcap is another great item that doesn't fit. It is for mages that will get one shot to do a lot of damage like Veigar. You can't kill a squishy in one swing of Mace of Spades, even with this. If you're going to land two or three shots all this does is overkill something that is already going to die. If you need to fight something that is a real threat like a melee champion with Maw of Malmortius then Void Staff does more damage and costs less.


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Summoner Spells

When playing Mordekaiser Flash is a must. It is either Exhaust to provide you with a bit of Crowd Control to utilize your Mace of Spades ability when mid or Teleport when top. Teleport's ability to get back in your lane or cross the map to a ward in the opposite lane to help your team and then get the dragon means you always want this.


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Skill Sequence

Ability Sequence
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
If you are in the bottom lane with champion like Blitzcrank, Thresh, or Volibear (lol) that has a pull go for Mace of Spades first. The other 99% of the time you start with Harvesters of Sorrow first for the healing to negate the health cost of using your abilities. Against a melee champion Mace of Spades is good to get second. Against a range champion or a conservative opponent second is Siphon of Destruction so you can have a bit of poke andkeep your Iron Man shield full. Use Siphon of Destruction as much as your cool down allows - consider it a basic attack against champions. Avoid hitting minions with it unless you know it is smart or you'll push your lane.

Max Harvesters of Sorrow so you can surprise your opponent with how much damage you do and how little they can hurt you in the laning phase. You've got a weak start, so consider the first few levels the survival levels. This helps, especially when you're top and can get a heal from the Ancient Krug and Krug pair instead of just the Gromp if you're bottom.

Follow that up with Mace of Spades for maximum killing power. Mace of Spades doesn't just get better from more damage per level, it goes from adding 50% attack damage up to 90% attack damage. This is the ability that makes people fear Mordekaiser, so making it devastating for level 12 is very useful.

When I need poke in early laning I'll bump Siphon of Destruction to level 2 since is much more effective than level one. Usually I max this last simply because you need Harvesters of Sorrow for laning survival and helping your jungler gank and Mace of Spades for the huge damage. If you're against a range bully and still in the laning phase I may begin to max this second better trades and a more full Iron Man Shield.

Almost all the time it is simple - max Harvesters of Sorrow followed by Mace of Spades and finally Siphon of Destruction.


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Ranked Play

Pretend League of Legends a racing game with the the first player to reach level 18 the winner instead of a FPS death match where the player with the best KDA ratio is the winner. The higher your level the further ahead you are in this race. It is better to be a level ahead of your laning opponent without a kill on him than a level behind having killed him once. Since kills take your opponent out of the match for a while and give the killer a massive XP bonus there is a strong correlation between kills and being a higher level, but never lose sight of level being more important than a kill. Even more important than level is getting objectives. Objectives are roughly nexus > two Inhibitors > baron > one inhibitor > dragon > Rift herald > turret > kill > pushing a wave or clearing a jungle camp.

Although it is great to get a kill in the laning phase it is really a race to get as many last hits as possible on the creep to get gold to buy a better item. During this part of the game occasionally damaging the enemy can make him him back off so you can farm better, If you can send him back without a kill it is still a win because he will lose a wave worth of experience. Eventually these little wins lead to bigger advantages and your final victory.

The biggest challenge with Mordekaiser is the start because he is basically a weak carry without a support and of his first two items Rylai's Crystal Scepter doesn't have impressive stats and Hextech Gunblade is made of relatively gold inefficient ingredients. Once they're finally finished Mordekaiser is ready to rule.

There are only a few rules:
1) Be patient. No, really. Stay alive, don't be a feed-kaiser! Your time is coming and if you fall behind you may not be able to come back.
2) Don't push, let your jungler gank instead of you being ganked.
3) Place wards. Strive to place the most or close to most on your team or you'll stay in Bronze forever.
3) Use jungle camps to heal.
4) Get the Herald! Once you hit the 15 minute mark you need to get some combination of top, mid, jungle, and your ghost together to get it before it is gone.
5) Dragons Dragons Dragons. If you don't get a dragon you basically and playing without using your ult. That's under powered, not over powered.
6) If you know you're only going to get one hit on an opponent prime your Mace of Spades by hitting a minions so when you hit the enemy it is with the third hit.
7) Use Children of the Grave on a champ that does a lot of damage by auto attack. Getting a carry like Jinx or a jungler like Master Yi is more useful than a support. If you can't get your first choice then get anything. Any ghost is better than no ghost.

You will spend the first few levels doing your best to last hit minions and chip away at the opponent. Only engage an enemy if you can cast Harvesters of Sorrow on a minion the enemy will have to stand next to while your Mace of Spades lands three hits.

Mid game watch the lanes. Each wave of minions is worth ~1/3 of a level. Remember that! Clear as many waves as you can and out level the other team. Once you hit mid game and a turret is down somewhere and a team fighting begins watch for an opportunity to push a lane from your turret toward theirs. Mordekaiser's wave clear is fantastic, you'll be able to clear almost as fast as you can walk. By the time your lane is where it is supposed to be you'll have gained a level from XP that otherwise would've been wasted. Only push the lane to their turret if you have map vision otherwise and are certain you won't get 2v1'd.


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Twisted Treeline

Twisted Treeline can be very enjoyable since you can get a couple games in per night. It is really a nice condensed version of the full Summoner's Rift match.

The biggest game difference is the inability to buy wards. Although that changes the game a lot, pretty much everything in this guide for SR applies to TT. Since you start with 850 instead of 500 gold my favourite start is a Doran's Shield and Ruby Crystal for extra health.

The build order is always Seeker's Armguard item for your lane if it is against regular attack damage, boots, and then Rylai's Crystal Scepter.

The two special items you need to be ready to buy are Wooglet's Witchcap and Moonflair Spellblade. Moonflair Spellblade is a decent item that makes you tankier, gives you AP, and most importantly Tenacity. If your opponents have CC is you need to buy this item.

Wooglet's Witchcap is basically Rabadon's Deathcap and Zhonya's Hourglass rolled into one OP item. This isn't on SR for a reason! This is one of your core items.

The final difference is to take Exhaust and Flash.


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Summary

Be patient! Keep using the Siphon of Destruction to keep your Iron Man shield full and Harvesters of Sorrow to keep your health up until you've got Rylai's Crystal Scepter, Hextech Gunblade, and Boots of Swiftness. Then next thing you know you've won the game for your team!

With the immense healing of Harvesters of Sorrow, a refilling Iron Man shield, a bit of armour, and MR you're practically a walking turret destroying anything foolish enough to get close. In case that wasn't enough to make your opponents run, just wait until they get a taste of your ghost dragon with its ice fire breath to slow them in their tracks. You can walk around taking all the objectives and killing anything that gets in your way.