Kha'Zix Build Guide by Jebus McAzn
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VS AD Casters
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hello guys, I'm Jebus, and this guide will mark my return to the MOBAFire guide-making community. I was extremely active around the site about a year ago and I'm returning to the site after taking a rather extended hiatus due to schoolwork, college, and other complications. If you don't know me, I've been on MOBAFire for over two years. I help moderate the site, and I'm also a writer for eSports Central. On League of Legends, I'm currently a Gold player, hovering at around 1550 ELO, although I peaked last season at around 1690.
This will be a guide on mid lane Kha'Zix - I will not be talking about how to play him top lane or in the jungle, so you'll have to search elsewhere for that. I'm rather out of practice when it comes to guide-writing. This guide therefore will be pretty stark in comparison to a lot of the other beautifully formatted guides out there - it will be to the point, efficient, and probably not very pretty. Just like Kha'Zix.
In a hurry?
21/9/0 masteries, spec into all the good stuff in offense and magic resist or armor in defense depending on who you're up against. Standard AD carry runes (full AD reds/quints, flat armor/MR yellows/blues) should suffice for the most part although scaling health seals are excellent to have on hand and armor penetration marks and/or quints can fit in easily. Standard play is to max W, which gives sustain and pushing power, although Q/E can be maxed first for lane dominance and romaing. Generally evolve W > E > Q or R if maxing Void Spike first, or E > Q > W if maxing Q/E. Start with Crystalline Flask and whatever combination of Potions and Wards you see fit. Rush early armor penetration ( The Brutalizer) and then get attack damage - you should know this part.
Competitive History and Overview
06 April, 2013
Gambit Gaming's Alex Ich gets a pentakill with Kha'Zix in a match against Evil Geniuses (video link in Conclusions section)
27 January, 2013
Kha'Zix is the second most banned champion at LCS EU at 20, behind Evelynn's 22 bans. However, he has a 70% win ratio in his games, compared to Eve's 50%.
24 January, 2013
Kha'Zix has a 6-1 win-loss record at IEM Katowice.
18 January, 2013
This portion of the guide was written on January 18th, 2013, right after the last semifinal match of OGN Champions Winter and after the first group stage matches of IEM Katowice. Both tournaments, in addition to the LCS qualifiers earlier this month, are collectively the first major tournaments to operate on the Preseason patch, complete with new items, masteries, et cetera.
Kha'Zix first made his viable competitive appearance back at IPL5, where Fnatic RaidCall's SoAz, although not the first player to use him that tournament, was the first to be successful on the champion. He played him in the top lane, and since IPL5, Kha'Zix has been seeing more and more play to the point of being one of the top picks and bans of every game.
Since this guide is about mid Kha'Zix, I'll only be covering that - however, he has seen quite a bit of play in top lane from the hands of NaJin Sword's MaKNooN and Azubu Frost's Shy, while his presence in the jungle has been virtually nonexistent. This build and most of this guide also applies to top lane, so feel free to generalize.
Kha'Zix has been played in mid lane many times. At OGN Champions Winter, we saw Azubu Frost's RapidStar, Azubu Blaze's Ambition, NaJin Sword's SSONG, and KT Rolster B's Ryu use mid Kha'Zix to tremendous effect in several of their games. The recent patch nerfed Kha'Zix's strength slightly, reducing the slow and damage on his passive and the damage on his Q, but he remains an impressively powerful champion.
Almost all the competitive players above have used a build similar to the one in this guide, and its effectiveness has been proven through several games against some of the top teams in the world. Mid laners will play around Kha'Zix and his mobility to win lane and gank frequently, transitioning into an AoE assassin once they hit the mid-game teamfights. Nearly all the pro players are maxing and evolving Void Spike first, although solo queue strategies revolving around maxing Taste Their Fear first are also quite strong.
Many players will max Leap after Void Spike, although MaKNooN and some others like maxing Taste Their Fear after his W. Maxing Leap second will reduce its cooldown and give you more AoE, while maxing TTF second will dramatically increase your burst. Most players are evolving W first for the slow and the AoE, and E second for the reset and the teamfight utility. Max Q last for increased damage, or R last for more utility.
Patch Note History
Slow reduced to 25% from 35%.
Isolation bonus attack damage ratio reduced to 2.0 from 2.4.
Unseen Threat (Innate):
Evolved Enlarged Claws: Increases damage to isolated targets even further. Kha'Zix also gains increased range on both Taste Their Fear and his basic attack.
Evolved Spike Racks: Causes Void Spike to fire three projectiles in a cone. Spikes will also apply Unseen Threat to all enemies caught within the area of effect.
Evolved Wings: Increases Leap's range dramatically and causes a kill or assists to refresh the cooldown of Leap.
Evolved Active Camouflage: Allows Kha’Zix to cast Void Assault three times over the course of its duration and reduces any damage he sustains while in stealth.
Masteries and Summoner Spells
These two are lumped into the same section as they're mainly self-explanatory. Run 21 in offense, grabbing all the no-brainer points. I prefer Butcher over Fury as Kha'Zix has almost no use for attack speed early on, and the extra damage can help you get a few CS you would have missed otherwise. I take the slightly inefficient Havoc over Lethality and Frenzy, since Kha'Zix has no need for crit and the extra 2% damage is almost always more useful, despite how small it is.
|Spec your remaining points into defense. Health is great to have, as always, while the extra MR helps you out against casters (which you'll be frequently facing in the middle lane). If you're up against an AD caster like Talon or Lee Sin, change to 3 points in Hardiness and 1 point in Resistance .|
If you're up against a particularly difficult lane, especially one with a lot of DoT like Swain or Malzahar, you can actually take two points out of offense and go for Unyielding , running 19/11/0 to mitigate quite a lot of damage. If you're against a lane that pushes hard but doesn't pose much of a threat to you, like Morgana or Karthus, you can consider putting 4 points from defense into utility, grabbing Summoner's Insight for improved Flash and Meditation to help you spam more.
|Summoner spells are self-explanatory as well. Flash is a must. Ignite is pretty much a must on Kha'Zix. The extra burst is incredibly significant during all phases of the game, and I cannot think of any situation where you would prefer Heal, Teleport, Barrier, Cleanse, or much else. Exhaust maaaaaybe is an option, but Ignite will be superior around 90% of the time.|
Abilities and Evolutions
Upon leveling up his ultimate, Void Assault, Kha'Zix gains the ability to evolve one of his skills. He can only evolve three skills per game, and each has its benefits. Skills can be evolved in the same way that they can be leveled; by using CTRL + Q / W / E / R. Evolving a skill takes about two seconds.
Unseen Threat (passive): Kha'Zix's passive is excellent for adding some extra damage onto your combo and slowing enemies down with an autoattack or evolved Void Spike. Try to use it frequently by ducking in and out of vision when you can.
- Try to autoattack or used your evolved Void Spike at least once every time you come out of the stealth provided by Void Assault. This will drastically increase your damage, as well as constantly slow the enemy.
- If you're fighting next to brush, try to duck in and out of it as often as possible to constantly trigger your passive after every autoattack.
- Unseen Threat can be used to check bushes for Sight Wards and Vision Wards - if you have already consumed it, you can walk into a nearby bush in lane without breaking vision and see if your passive comes back up. If it doesn't, that bush is warded.
Taste Their Fear (Q): A low-mana, low-cooldown, single-target burst spell with absolutely ridiculous damage and AD scaling when used on an isolated target. In early game, this is an excellent ability to help farm and harass, while a single Taste Their Fear in mid or late game can chunk a squishy target for half of their health bar.
- Evolving Taste Their Fear increases your attack range and the range on Taste Their Fear by 50. In addition, your damage against isolated targets greatly increases by another 12% of the enemy's missing health.
- Evolving Q lets you do a massive amount of damage against isolated targets, while the range increase is decent as well. When maxing Void Spike first, evolve Taste Their Fear last if you want the extra damage, or don't evolve it at all if you want to evolve Void Assault instead.
- Use Taste Their Fear to kill minions that you would miss otherwise. Its very low mana cost makes it spammable in lane, and is very useful when CSing under tower.
- Against enemy champions or large monsters, try to land Taste Their Fear immediately after you autoattack to deal as much damage as possible in a short amount of time.
- When maxing Void Spike first, max Taste Their Fear second for more burst damage, or last for the extra mobility and AoE provided by Leap.
- Taste Their Fear works especially well with teammates that can displace enemies, such as Gragas or Lee Sin.
- Because the Dragon and Baron Nashor are always isolated targets, Kha'Zix is exceptionally fast at clearing these objectives.
Void Spike (W): This is the skill that most people choose to max first. Void Spike, although mana-heavy, is a line skillshot nuke that also has a heal built into it. It is especially useful for doing AoE damage, and can easily clear entire waves when evolved.
- Evolving Void Spike makes you shoot three projectiles in a cone instead of one in a straight line. Upon hitting an enemy, it will also trigger the slow and damage from your passive, Unseen Threat, making it excellent at slowing enemies from a distance.
- An enemy can only be hit once by any one projectile from Void Spike. Likewise, Kha'Zix can only be healed once from any of the spikes' explosions.
- Void Spike can be cast in mid-air while using Leap. This creates a rather huge amount of burst, as it will land almost immediately as the damage from Leap hits, while you can also follow that combo up with Taste Their Fear and autoattacks.
- If you have evolved Void Spike and multiple projectiles hit the same target(s), only one projectile will hit it and the other(s) will pass through.
- Use evolved Void Spike to slow an entire team or as a ranged slow on a fleeing enemy during a chase or a pursuing enemy when you're being chased.
- Max Void Spike first in most scenarios. If going for a more aggression/roaming oriented build where you max Q first, avoid picking up Void Spike until at least level 8.
Leap (E): An excellent ability for mobility and for damage. Evolving it is the main reason why Kha'Zix doesn't instantly explode in teamfights, and is also why Kha'Zix has such a huge potential to snowball.
- Evolving Leap will greatly increase the distance that you can close, and will also reset Leap's cooldown upon getting a champion kill or assist.
- Evolve Leap second when maxing Void Spike first, as Evolved Spike Racks are essential. Evolve Leap first when maxing Taste Their Fear first, as the extra distance and the reset on kill are much more important than the extra isolation damage and range.
- Leap can jump most walls in the game, and Evolved Leap can jump nearly all of them, if not all of them.
- Leap can be used to quickly jump into a fight, then assassinate a squishy target with your full combo. With Evolved Wings, Leap should be used to immediately jump out after killing the target, to avoid being melted by the entire enemy team.
- Leap can be maxed second for more AoE damage and a lower cooldown (mana cost does not increase with rank), or maxed last for more damage on Taste Their Fear while still fully resetting off kills and assists if you have Evolved Wings.
Void Assault (R): With every rank of this skill, you can evolve one of your skills - as such, get this whenever you can, at levels 6/11/16. When activated, Void Assault stealths you for one second and gives you greatly increased movement speed. You can use Void Assault up to two times in ten seconds, with a two second cooldown between each activation.
- Evolving Void Assault will allow you to cast it three times within ten seconds, and also lowers the amount of damage you take while stealthed by 40%.
- Note that the stealth duration is very short (1 second), meaning that the damage reduction itself must be very carefully timed in order to be of much use.
- Try to autoattack or used your Evolved Void Spike between casts of Void Assault to make full use of Unseen Threat.
- Unseen Threat will become active on Kha'Zix when he used Void Assault regardless of whether the enemy team can see him due to Oracle's Elixir, Vision Wards, Yordle Snap Trap, or any other mechanic.
- The damage reduction from Evolved Void Assault has no effect on true damage; it cannot be used to reduce the damage from Ignite any other source of true damage.
- Casts of Evolved Void Assault can be timed to greatly reduce the damage from tower shots, which are slow and easily telegraphed. This is also particularly useful against damage-over-time spells, such as Malefic Visions or Torment.
- When ganking, cast Void Assault when barely out of enemy vision, then use Leap to quickly close the distance and Evolved Void Spike to slow them.
The most common build at the moment involves maxing Void Spike immediately. This gives you ranged damage, an AoE clear, and most importantly, sustain. Maxed Void Spike lets you poke and farm minions very well. Void Spike should be evolved as soon as you hit level 6, making it much stronger. When evolved, it becomes a potent tool for ganking and for teamfighting.
After maxing W, the player can choose to max Leap if he/she wants more AoE damage and more general mobility, since Leap's cooldown is reduced with every rank. Alternatively, you can choose to max Taste Their Fear second, for maximum burst damage. Leap should always be evolved second, giving you tremendous teamfight power. Void Assault can be evolved last for utility and more slow procs from Unseen Threat, while Taste Their Fear should be evolved last if you want more burst.
One downside to maxing W first is a lack of early game damage - Kha'Zix has immense burst potential, but maxing Void Spike first does not maximize it. The other major disadvantage to maxing it first comes from its high mana cost. Spamming Void Spike means that you'll run out of mana, but one of the perks of playing mid lane is that you can frequently take the blue buff.
Solo Queue Aggression/Roaming (Max Q, Evolve E)
A more solo queue oriented build involves maxing Taste Their Fear as soon as possible. This turns you into a huge lane bully and is extremely effective at zoning out the enemy laner from gold and oftentimes experience. This build does not focus on Void Spike until well past level 8 - depending on personal preference, you can get it then or as late as level 13.
This build maximizes early game damage. By as soon as level 2, you have an incredible amount of burst damage with a combo of Leap into autoattack -> Taste Their Fear -> autoattack(s). Very few AP carries can actually trade with you, especially very early on. Because your Q is targeted, it is guaranteed damage and is much more reliable than Void Spike in the early game - unsuspecting enemies can be taken down with a quick combo from as high as around half health.
Starting with Faerie Charm and a few potions/wards is currently the most popular and one of the strongest starting paths. Rushing Tear of the Goddess is the key behind this build, which allows you to spam Void Spike in lane without running OOM as quickly. You can choose any mix of health potions, mana potions, and sight wards as you wish - although I recommend picking up at least one ward at the beginning of the game. Other possible starts include the 9 potion + 2 ward strategy, or running Cloth Armor and 5 potions against an AD caster lane.
Despite the changes to Crystalline Flask, it is still a very strong item for the sustain it provides. Maxing Void Spike first in particular places a heavy strain on your mana, and Flask will help take care of that until you can pick up your first blue. With the remaining 475-345=130 gold, you can buy up to 3 health or mana potions, or one potion and a ward. In either case, if you're able to Recall before 1:30, you can wait in spawn for another potion and you'll still reach your lane before the first minion dies - this is not recommended if your team is invading or if your jungler needs you to leash (Maxing Q/E first means that you can't help leash anyway).
There are two possibilities here - go straight for damage or go for sustainability. The first build (and the more popular) advocates a fast Tear, giving you a ton of mana and allowing you to push all day and heal up with Evolved Void Spikes. Rushing The Brutalizer is viable on both builds, although it's stronger on the second, which is much more aggressive. The damage, early armor penetration, and CDR all help immensely and will provide you with a big jump in power.
Boots are optional (many players are holding off on getting boots for quite a long time) and have a lot of flexibility. Mercury's Treads are the safe option, reducing lane damage from AP carries and giving you Tenacity. Ionian Boots of Lucidity give you CDR (very useful on your Void Spike). Boots of Mobility allow you to aggressively roam, ganking lanes and hunting the enemy jungler. Personal preference will decide in most cases which boots you want.
Rushing The Bloodthirster ASAP will provide the largest boost in damage and a decent amount of sustain to boot. Rushing The Black Cleaver is viable, but sacrifices a bit in terms of damage for its unique ability and an extra bit of health. The changes to Cleaver (now five stacks instead of four) means that your full burst combo will barely hit the max armor shred value. Rushing BT will provide the largest jump to your AD and will also be stronger the earlier you can get it.
Last Whisper is excellent immediately following BT because of yet another huge damage leap. By the time you get LW, it should be at around 25-26 minutes, allowing you to bully even tanky champions. The changes to penetration mean that with LW and The Brutalizer, you're shredding a substantial amount of damage. If enemies are not building armor at all, go for The Black Cleaver or even another Bloodthirster instead.
You're going to want some defense, so Warmog's Armor is the go-to option. Getting a ton of health is very strong, and helps you last longer in fights.. Finishing up The Black Cleaver gives you more damage, more penetration, and more survivability, but is not essential and can actually wait until you need to have a sixth item. Buy an Elixir of Fortitude before major teamfights for another jump in power.
Other defensive options include Guardian Angel, Quicksilver Sash, and Banshee's Veil. For your final items, take your pick from the situational list below (or, frankly, look at the recommended items). Builds will vary from situation to situation, but you have a lot of leeway with items.
Hexdrinker: An excellent item that ideally should be purchased after The Brutalizer if you're having trouble against magic damage. This can be upgraded into Maw of Malmortius later on, which is a great late-game item for Kha'Zix.
Blade of the Ruined King: Great if you're up against an enemy team that stacks a lot of health. The meta is revolving more and more around items that build from Giant's Belt, with Warmog's Armor being seen almost every game. BotRK is a great way to shred through health, although it doesn't provide nearly as much AD as The Bloodthirster.
Infinity Edge: I-Edge will provide incredible damage on your autoattacks and should only be used when you have little to no fear of CC. This buy is very situational and is often outdone by a second purchase of The Bloodthirster.
Muramana: Upgrading your Tear to a Manamune sometime around your 3rd/4th item can be very strong. Muramana's active procs with Taste Their Fear, and with a recent patch changing Muramana's active damage to physical, you can potentially increase your burst by a huge amount.
Guardian Angel: A very solid buy that gives you a second chance if you get caught out and blown up. When you resurrect, the enemy team will probably have taken some damage already, giving you the chance to assassinate someone and then Leap away to safety.
Quicksilver Sash: Great against CC-heavy teams, especially AoE comps relying on lockdown from champions like Amumu. While not as much of a "get out of jail free card" as GA, QSS is situationally better in many scenarios and can be upgraded into the Mercurial Scimitar for more damage and extra movespeed on your active.
Warmog's Armor: This item is more for when you're ahead, but makes you very scary and is an alternative to Guardian Angel. While it doesn't give you a resurrection effect, it makes you tankier and much harder to kill overall. In an even game, GA is a safer option, but Warmog's Armor is very effective at "sealing the deal" for when you're ahead.
Banshee's Veil: Offering an excellent mix of health, mana, and magic resist, BVeil gives some great stats while also offering a fantastic passive - a spell shield. The negation effect from Banshee's Veil can be invaluable against champions with game-changing abilities, most notoriously Blitzcrank and Thresh, with their hooks. Veil is also fantastic against teams with Nidalee or even Volibear, as long as you're careful to not get caught while your shield is down.
Synergy and Matchups
Kha'Zix is interesting because he works well with just about every team composition. Champions that are good at countering AoE compositions, such as Gragas or Lee Sin, increase Kha'Zix's isolation damage from his Q. However, champions that excel in AoE team comps, such as Amumu, will drastically increase Kha'Zix's teamfighting power. There are no champions that work poorly with him, and certain synergies will really be decided more by your playstyle than by the champion itself.
There are certain team compositions in which you do not want to use him: for example, if your top laner is a squishy champion like Teemo and your jungler is a glass cannon like Shaco, you're going to want to pick a tankier mid character with utility such as Morgana or even Galio. If your top laner is someone like Riven and your jungler is someone like Cho'Gath, you'll want to pick a champion with a solid initiation ability so your team can follow up, such as Evelynn or Twisted Fate.
This section will only discuss matchups in the mid lane, not the top lane - however, this guide is still mostly applicable to the top lane.
Aren't <insert comment about armor penetration marks and/or quints> better than straight AD?
What consumables should I buy with my Crystalline Flask?
Is Enchantment: Homeguard the only enchantment I should get?
Kha'Zix has high burst, great sustain, great pushing power, and amazing roaming potential. Depending on how you skill him, he can have an incredible powerful early game or an incredibly strong mid-late game, and has one of the highest snowball potentials out of any champion in the League. He's an incredibly fun, incredibly powerful melee burst assassin that can leap around the battlefield like... well, like this:
Or this (Alex Ich pentakill during LCS EU)
Or this (36 seconds in):
With any luck, you'll be hopping around like MaKNooN in no time.
The wonderful people at OGN Champions Winter, an event on which I wrote coverage over at eSports Central, for providing me with hours of excellent gameplay with hilarious and insightful commentary to go along with it. Montecristo, DoA, you're both excellent casters, and all of the teams there were spectacular - although I would really love it if a game with an Azubu team didn't go to five games every time. :P
The members over at eSports Central for assigning me to OGN Champions Winter in the first place. Wonderful tournament, wonderful players, and tons of fun to write about.
Several users and pages for unknowingly providing me with a helpful template, such as PsiGuard's Malphite Guide, Pulse Sneakycastro's Graves Guide, and the BBCode guide have all helped me smoothly transition back into guide-writing.
13 April 2013
- Revamped item build 1 to reflect the popularity of rushing Tear with a playstyle that maxes W first.
- Added Banshee's Veil to the list of situational defensive items and revamped the items section to include Tear.
- Added Alex Ich's pentakill against EG during LCS EU to the videos section.
1 February 2013
- Minor aesthetic changes and coding fixes
- Fixed a mistake in the second build where Leap accidentally had six points invested into it
30 January 2013
- Made some major visual aesthetic changes to the item builds in the cheat sheet:
- Added 9 pots/2 wards as a starting option
- Added more enchantments
- Added Tear and Chalice as options for mana regen
- Replaced IE with Muramana in the situational items section
- Slightly tweaked endgame item builds
24 January 2013
- Finished matchups section: Lee Sin through Zyra
- Fixed some coding issues
- Began adding questions to FAQ
24 January 2013
- Guide published