Malzahar Build Guide by JoZHa
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Introduction - Why AD Malzahar?
(Disclaimer, this guide isn't season 3 compatible yet. It is currently being updated and will be updated for season 3 in a couple of days hopefully. Feel free to read the season 2 version or wait for the updated version)
Malzahar is a very flexible champion and a lot of people haven't realized because he is quite underplayed. The most common type is of course AP, and the other highly underrated way is AD.
In this guide I'm going to explain the way I play AD Malzahar. The reason why AD Malzahar is viable is because his Voidlings actually scale 1.0 of Malzahar's Bonus AD and they benefit from Malzahar's Armor Penetration. It's not stated in any of RiotGames own tool tips and the damage done doesn't show in the Voidling's statistics in-game but you can quite easily see a damage increase if you purchase AD or Armor Penetration items.
The reason why I don't build a lot of AD items in this build is because Malzahar doesn't benefit a lot from many of the current AD items. Critical Strike, Attack Speed and Lifesteal aren't very beneficial if you are focusing on dealing heavy damage with Voidlings. You need to have as many Voidlings out as possible if you are going to fight against enemy Champions. Manamune will help you spam skills to get Voidlings out while still getting a nice AD boost. Cooldown reduction is also needed for more Voidlings on the battlefield. The Brutalizer and Frozen Heart are the best options for cooldown reduction if you want to focus on building AD.
NOTE: I recommend you to at least try this build out before voting.
I put this video up for some "proof" that this build is actually viable and not just a troll build. When I have time I'll go deeper into making videos against certain match ups with my commentary.
Pros / Cons
- Has one of the highest damgage outputs per second with two or three Voidlings up.
- Can deal damage while moving, i.e. chasing or running away from enemies.
- Fun way of playing Malzahar.
- Single target Crowd control doesn't stop a lot of your damage output because of your Voidlings.
- The Voidlings will dance if you "/Dance" when a voidling is spawned.
- Bad chasing and escaping tools unless your team have some kind of speed boost or hard cc.
- Champions with long range can sometimes be a problem.
- It's hard to play with a support you don't know. I recommend you to play as a full pre-made or just queue with someone who can support you in bot-lane.
- People might think you are trolling when you're building AD but just show them that you can win games with it.
Overall the only problem is a high mobility team and sometimes teams with long range. Teams with a lot of CC or Tanky Champions is usually not that big of a problem for AD Malzahar. Compared to most other AD Carries who might have problems dealing with Tanky champions and CC.
Skills Explanation / Tips and Tricks
The Voidlings is your main damage output in this build. They are only affected by your Armor Penetration and 1.0 bonus Attack Damage (not by life steal, attack speed, critical strike or spell vamp).
- The Voidlings Prioritize attacking champions in this order: Target affected by Nether Grasp > Malefic Visions > Malzahar's Auto-Attacks > The most nearby target/random target.
- The Voidlings will not draw tower aggro to Malzahar if you don't attack an enemy champion with any of your magic damage skills or your auto attacks. Attacking an enemy with auto-attacks before you enter tower range while having one or two Voidling(s) will cause some heavy damage to the enemy champion if you just walk with the Voidling(s) when you enter tower range so that the Voidling(s) won't deaggro the champion.
- With two to three Voidlings up Malzahar is an exceptional dualist with just your core items. If you have Exhaust or Nether Grasp it is really rare that you will end up dying to anyone 1v1. The Voidling's DPS are often stronger then most other people's DPS.
- If a target gets infected by Malefic Visions and moves out of ally sight range into the fog of war (e.i. a brush or behind an obstacle) the Voidlings will start attack a random target or just stop if there are no targets in range.
Call Of The Void
- This spell can be used for checking bushes or checking if jungle monsters are dead or not.
- As AD this spell is mostly useful for the silence and for charging the Voidling counter. However it deals some decent AoE Magic damage if you hit multiple targets and can be used for last hitting minions at a long range.
- Use this skill at the spawn pool at the start of a game to have a Summon Voidling on the next or 2 next spell casts.
- Try using this skill when out of battle if you don't have a Voidling on next cast. This can help your damage output once a fight occurs (Only do this if you can afford the mana cost, don't do this a lot early game if you haven't got your Tear of the Goddess yet).
- Deals quite nice magic damage over time even without any AP.
- Try using it on your opponent before you use your ultimate for maximum damage output.
- You can also use this before a battle to charge your Voidling counter. However Null Zone has a longer cooldown but it doesn't interrupt your movement unlike Call of the Void.
- I max Call of the Void second because the duration of the silence gets longer on each level up. If you want you can max Null Zone second because it has a higher damage output if your opponents stand on it for a long duration. Then again the damage from Null Zone is a lot stronger late game due to enemies having more HP and therefor it's usually better to max last.
- I max this skill first because the cooldown is reduced on each level and you can get more Voidlings out that way. It is also the second easiest way of controlling your Voidlings and you gain more mana back if a target dies with Malefic Visions.
- Early game this is the skill you mainly use for harass, farming and stacking your Voidling counter.
- Use this skill on a low minion if the enemies are pushing to your tower and you need to take out the creeps. This restores most of the mana used.
- Always use this on the enemy you want to focus. Your Voidlings will go straight for them and they have to back up if they don't want to get easily focus fired by your Voidlings.
- It is often easier for Voidlings to focus an enemy that is close to you. Melee champions always need to walk up to you and get close to deal damage with auto-attacks. Therefor in teamfights it can be an idea to use Malefic Visions on the enemy champion(s) focusing you. However if you are in range and are able to reach the enemy damage dealers then you should always go for them.
- It's best to use this on a target affected by crowd control as enemies can quite easily run or Flash away from your Voidlings if they are not interrupted by crowd control.
- If you are being chased, using this on the enemy chasing you allows your Voidlings to damage them while Malzahar can run away or set up a bait for your team (this works best against melee champs but works with ranged champions too). Every other AD carry in the game has to attack to deal damage, meaning they can't run away and deal damage which puts Malzahar in an advantage when being chased. This tactic only works when you have Voidlings up.
- With this build you will hopefully almost obtain max cooldown reduction meaning that this skill is on 4.2 sec cooldown (with max cooldown reduction) and you can have a target almost constantly infected by Malefic Visions.
- This skill is not mainly used for the damage part when playing AD Malzahar. It is mainly used for the utility it grants and has great synergy with Voidlings. It shuts down almost any champion that doesn't have a Quicksilver Sash or allies with Hard-cc that can interrupt it. Champions that have a Silence, Knockup, Knockback, Fling, Stun, Suppression, Fear, Taunt or Charm can interrupt your Channeling Nether Grasp. Try to avoid using your ulti on Gangplank, Olaf and Alistar because they can cancel Nether Grasp with Remove Scurvy, Ragnarok and Unbreakable Will.
- The best way of using this skill is using Null Zone, followed up by Malefic Visions and finally Nether Grasp. For maximum Damage output you should always have atleast one Voidling up and preferably two.
- Sometimes just using Nether Grasp before a fleeing enemy can escape will allow your team and Voidling(s) to focus the enemy down.
- Use this skill on a champion in range of a tower who have or is about to take tower agro for free damage on that champion and usually a kill if your ultimate doesn't get interrupted.
I usually use Heal and Flash. I take Heal because it's quite easy to bait enemies with it and I don't have many HP items in this build but quite a few Magic Resist and Armor items meaning that Heal will make your HP more effective. Flash is just in general good for escape or engagements with your Nether Grasp.
Exhaust is also a good alternative as it helps you make people over commit trying to kill you.
Ignite is quite good if the enemies have a lot of heals and/or health regen.
Ghost is also a viable option because you can more easily chase enemies or escape from enemies. After all utility is one of Malzahar's weaknesses and Ghost helps improving that.
Teleport is a good summoner spell if you are not laning with a healer and that way you can get back to your lane quickly. It becomes best Mid-Late Game though because you can use it to splitpush or get into an unexpected teamfight.
I don't recommend Cleanse because crowd control doesn't stop your main damage output (except for an enemy Exhaust). Your Voidlings is your main damage source and you can't Cleanse Voidlings if they get crowd controlled. If you are afraid of enemy crowd control just buy Mercury's Treads to counter it or maybe even a Quicksilver Sash if they have Suppressing enemies.
I take Brute Force because of bonus AD. AD builds needs AD more than AP ;).
Butcher for easier last hitting early game.
Alacrity for the upgradeable Armor Penetration.
Sorcery for increased cooldown reduction so that I can have more Voidlings out.
Weapon Expertise Increased % Armor Penetration because it's nice versus people with high armor. Even though we mainly focus on Flat Armor Penetration in this build.
Arcane Knowledge All our skills except for Summon Voidling still deal magic damage and this increases that amount by quite much in the long run.
Havoc Increased damage output is always nice when you are dealing some heavy damage already. I don't pick Deadliness because the AD per level is quite minor and you need to put 4 mastery points in it to make it even a little bit useful which hardly isn't worth it in my opinion.
Sunder More flat armor penetration = more damage from your attacks and your Voidlings.
Executioner Usually you will be fighting against enemies for long enough that they will get below 40% HP and this can really help you win a close fight or finish someone off.
Summoner's Resolve For improved Heal.
Hardiness Your lane opponent will most likely deal Attack Damage. This will help you reduce the amount of damage you take.
Summoner's Insight Improved Flash. I think it is more useful than a minor reduction of death or reduced recall time.
Expanded Mind More mana = more Voidlings + more AD when you finish Manamune.
Meditation Increased mana regen is quite crucial early game as Malzahar can be quite mana hungry when you spam your spells to get Voidlings out. (Try to avoid spamming spells early game though).
Remember to swap the improved Summoner Spells around if you are not using the same ones as me.
21/9/0 is also a viable option if you feel that you don't need the increased Mana and Mana regen early game. 9 points in Defense means 3 points in Hardiness , 4 points in Durability and 1 point in Veteran's Scars .
Greater Mark Of Desolation
Inreased Armor Penetration is crucial in this build because we are NOT going for any % penetration item ( Last Whisper).
Greater Seal of Armor
More armor makes you survive the enemy's Attack Damage.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist
I prefer these over the flat ones because bot lane usually deals more attack damage rather then magic damage and the magic resist is a lot more useful mid to late game when you start to fight the enemy magic damage dealers more.
Greater Glyph of Cooldown Reduction
These or Cooldown Reduction per level are viable if you want to aim for more Cooldown reduction to get more Voidlings out. Magic Resist items will be a lot more necessary as you have no magic resist runes if you go with the cooldown reduction runes.
Greater Quintessence of Desolation
More damage output with autoattacks and Voidlings, specifically against enemy champions.
Greater Quintessence of Movement Speed
I tend to take 1 or 2 of these if I'm versus champions with long range such as Kog'Maw or Caitlyn. It will help you to chase and escape enemies with range and/or high mobility.
There are a lot more viable Runes but these are my preferred ones to botlane AD Malzahar.
Normal AD Carries commonly use AD marks and Quints to help last hitting minions early game and because they buy Last Whisper later into the game. In my opinion you don't need easier last hits once you get used to Malzahar's attack animation. If you choose to pick flat AD runes on Malzahar then you will lose a lot of damage output against enemy champions and will probably need a Last Whisper to gain damage output. The Brutalizer will always be needed though because of the Cooldown Reduction.
Your Core item Build will be: Upgraded Boots of Speed, Manamune, a Doran's Blade and The Brutalizer.
I Start with Boots of Speed and 3x Health Potions.
I want to stay in lane for as long time as possible so that I have at least 995 gold so I can afford my Tear of the Goddess.
After Tear of the Goddess you can build a Doran's Blade for some nice early HP and AD.
Your next item will be The Brutalizer. After you've finished this item you will see quite a hefty damage boost to your Voidlings.
The Brutalizer grants most of the stats an AD Malzahar needs. Cooldown reduction and Armor Penetration is really useful. DO NOT upgrade this item until you have a full build of good end game items. The upgrade Youmuu's Ghostblade is not very useful early game on Malzahar because Critical Strike is not very effective and the active is a lot better on melee champions.
The time I choose boots is different from game to game. I usually take Mercury's Treads if the enemies have a lot of CC. Ninja Tabi if they have a lot of AD on their team or if I'm losing my lane. Boots of Swiftness is quite good as the speed benefits you greatly for escape and chase. Ionian Boots of Lucidity is also a viable option if you want to be a bit more squishy and deal more damage due to cooldown reduction.
I now upgrade my Tear of the Goddess into Manamune. Increasing my Damage output by quite a bit.
Now the Core is finished: Doran's Blade Mercury's Treads Manamune The Brutalizer
After the core there is a lot of optional items that you can get depending on your and the games situation.
These items are:
Maw of Malmortius Frozen Heart Banshee's Veil Guardian Angel Frozen Mallet Quicksilver Sash Trinity Force Aegis of the Legion The Bloodthirster Last Whisper
Maw of Malmortius
This item is in my opinion the best AD item a Malzahar can get apart from Manamune and The Brutalizer. The Magic resist and Magic shield help greatly in terms of surviving against an enemy caster and the bonus AD passive synergizes well with Malzahar being tanky enough to have low health while still dealing high damage with his pets.
One of the better armor items you can get. The 20% cooldown reduction is the main reason you get this item but 500 bonus mana adds up some nice AD with Manamune.
This item is really optional. If they have a lot of flat true damage on their team like Cho'Gath's Feast, Olaf's Reckless Swing or Darius's Noxian Guillotine then the active and HP from this item can be quite useful. You also gain some extra AD from Manamune.
The video shows that Last Whisper will always be more beneficial if you are attacking an enemy that has armor exceeding 107. Since Flat Armor Penetration is always applied before Percentage Armor Penetration and we get 40~ Flat Armor Penetration with The Brutalizer and all armor penetration runes then this value will be increased to [[Last Whisper being more beneficial if the enemies armor are exceeding 147.
Get this if you are being focused by the enemy team and your team can't protect you enough. It is also useful if you are on a killing spree so that you can avoid giving the enemies bonus gold. This item's revive effect is quite strong if you have some Voidlings up as they will usually keep on attacking enemies while you are reviving.
Good HP item for AD Malzahar and good because this build lacks a strong HP item. The slow is very useful if enemies are trying to run away from you, which they should. Also good if they have flat true damage.
You could get this item if you are being suppressed a lot by a Warwick, enemies using Ignite on you, enemies using Exhaust on you or a Vladimir using Hemoplague on you.
This item is quite situational but it grants Malzahar a little bit of everything and almost every stat is useful. Only the Attack speed and the Critical Strike is a bit waste of a stat for him.
Aegis of the Legion
Gives Malzahar, your Voidlings and nearby allied champions more resistance. I think the Voidlings only get the resistance if Malzahar has the Aegis of the Legion (I'm not completely sure about this, confirmation would be nice). However I would only get this item if noone else is getting it. I think more than 90% of the games I wouldn't get it, but it's not a bad item for Malzahar.
The Bloodthirster versus Last Whisper
These two items are the best if you are looking into increasing your damage output in mid- to lategame. The both items will be better or worse depending on the enemy armor. The best choice is explained in the video below for a normal AD carry. However, since Malzahar is not a normal AD carry then he will have to choose between The Bloodthirster and Last Whisper at a different armor stage which will be explained below the video.
(All rights are served to the owners of this video)
The following is assuming that you built exactly the same core as me (Fully stacked Manamune) with the same runes and masteries with either The Bloodthirster or Last Whisper as your first situational item.
Assuming all this, then Last Whisper will outdamage a fully stacked The Bloodthirster already at 126 Armor when you are using Auto Attacks.
For Voidlings the breaking point will be 125 Armor in its 1st stage and 114 Armor for 2nd and 3rd stage. Conclusion: It is more worth it to get a Last Whisper compared to The Bloodthirster if the enemies have more then 114 armor which they will usually have lategame. I take this from the value of Voidlings' stage 2 and 3 since the Voidlings will most of the times survive a long time into the 2nd and 3rd stage.
Maths and Formula:
Damage against X armor with Y AD, Z flat Armpen and W %Armpen: Y*(100/(100+(X-Z)*(1-W)))
Damage against X armor with fully stacked Bloodthirster:
Damage against X armor with Last Whisper:
Equating these and solving for X results in a point of breakeven at 126 Armor.
For Voidlings in 1st stage, this value is 125 Armor and in 2nd and 3rd stage 114.
Notice these calculations are with a fully stacked Bloodthirster, if it is less stacked the Last Whisper will be better at even lower levels of Armor. A Last Whisper will almost always be better, except if the enemies for whatever reason don't build any armor.
Huge thanks to Johanson for doing all the maths and calculations.
When you have gotten full item build you should upgrade The Brutalizer to Youmuu's Ghostblade and perhaps change to a different pair of boots. After this you should consider the elixirs in the order Red>Blue>Oracle>Green.
You should try to last hit minions early game. Poking a little bit with auto-attacks and maybe a spell if you get a good opportunity.
If you have a Voidling up you can trade with most lanes just by throwing down a Malefic Visions on your primary target (preferably the AD Carry or an overextended support).
Just farm gold until you have enough or more than enough for a Tear of the Goddess. Once you have your Tear of the Goddess you could start pushing your lane if you are not afraid of the enemy jungler and if you have wards protecting the most common gank routes.
When you hit level six you use your combo on someone if you have some Voidlings up. Beware of most supports though because they usually have some CC that can disable your ultimate. If they do have some CC you could wait until the support is not present or until they used the CC.
Try to farm in lane for as long as possible until you reach mid-game where teamfights start to occur.
Mid and Late Game
When the laning phase is over you should try to stick with your team or split push lanes as you are one of the best pushers in the game. It's easiest to stack your Voidling counter in a lane because you can land your Malefic Visions there safely as a free stack to the Voidlings counter. Try to always charge your Voidlings in before an important battle. If the enemies are close it should give you a hint about when to spam your skills for one or two Voidlings.
If a high priority enemy happens to get out of position you should try to combo them with your skills if you have your team to back you up or think you can get the kill by yourself.
If you are pushing a lane solo and there is just one enemy who comes to save their structure. Then you could most likely kill them since you will have two voidlings and Nether Grasp. If possible try to get out of tower range and if they follow you just use your spells at them when you think the moment is right.
Supports - Who to lane with?
A decent support for Malzahar. Can heal you and your Voidlings at the same time. The CC combo can be brutal along with one or two Voidlings beating the enemy up.
A quite good support for Malzahar. Though his grabs will be best timed right if you have a Voidling up otherwise it might be hard for you to deal enough damage to the grabbed enemy.
My favourite support for Malzahar. Janna's skills can be used both offensively and defensively and you feel safe if you lane with a good Janna. The AD boost on Eye Of The Storm is very nice as you Voidlings will do a ton of damage while the shield being active.
She is a quite strong as she can shield and heal both Malzahar and the Voidlings. Karma can easily use her Mantra empowered Soul Shield on your Voidling to deal heavy area of effect damage to nearby champions. Using your Malefic Visions on an enemy champion while Karma uses Spirit Bond on the Voidling will make the enemy having a hard time outrunning the chasing pet.
If you want an aggressive lane you could choose Leona as support. I find that my problem with Leona is that she is best suited to engage if you have a Voidling up. If you don't have a Voidling up her engagement might backfire and this could result losing a fight or the lane.
Lulu is a quite nice support for Malzahar. She gives quite a lot of effective Health back through the shield Help, Pix! and the Ultimate Wild Growth. Her Slow is really strong and helps you and your Voidlings to catch up or stick on a target. Polymorph or Speed boost is always nice too.
If Lux manages to land snares you could dominate this lane quite easily if they don't have much sustain. Lucent Singularity can be used to make enemies unable to de-aggro your Voidlings by entering bushes. The shield is an okay aspect but it doesn't shield your Voidlings unfortunately.
This champion makes killing so much easier, wait until you have a voidling up. Then let Maokai do his combo on a champion while you use your Malefic Visions on them and follow up by a Nether Grasp if needed or if possible.
One of the better supports for Malzahar. Nunu can use his Blood Boil on Malzahar's Voidlings for insane damage output and along with Nunu's Ice Blast the only thing that can really escape from your dreadful damage is abilities similar to Flash.
Quite useful as you benefit from both parts of the offensive aura Hymn of Valor (AP and AD). The heal is decent and the speed boost also benefit your Voidlings. Stunning AoE ultimate is very useful for landing your full combo on enemies before they can retaliate.
Soraka can be a useful support for Malzahar and sometimes useless. The mana and health sustain can let you stay in lane forever. Because Soraka has so many heals, she can allow you to build more AD instead of survivability as your effective health will be very high anyways. I still prefer a support with strong CC because they can be greater in terms of holding enemies in range of your Voidlings. When you are level 6 you should be fine though because you got your Nether Grasp.
A good support for Malzahar, can heal both you and your Voidlings if needed. The armor buff helps you survive and the armor debuff can be a real pain for enemies. The stun makes it easier for your Voidlings to catch up and nuke down your target. Malzahar benefit from both parts of the offensive aura Radiance (AP and AD).
Malzahar is in my opinion the better a fun and unique champion that can take many different roles. You can build many interesting team compositions around AD Malzahar and I recommend you to try this build out because its a quite different play style compared to a normal AD Carry.
Comments are always appreciated :)
Note: Only major updates are displayed here.
2012-03-29 *Guide Created
2012-04-05 *Made Mastery section more clarified
*Changed some opinions about laning with Soraka
*Added a montage to more or less prove that the build works
*Updated the Item section to display the core instead of just an item pattern
2012-05-05 *Updated the "Skills Explanation / Tips and Tricks" and "Summoner Spells" Pages to be more convenient.
2012-05-14 *Updated every page to hopefully be more grammatically correct and look nicer
*Changed "Laning Phase" Page to "Early Game" and "Mid and Late Game"
2012-08-04 *Updated the entire guide to be more correct since Malzahar got an important buff in the Mid-July Patch.
2012-08-07 *Fixed a couple of spelling mistakes.
*Added Teleport and Ghost to the "Summoner Spells" Page.
*Added some optional masteries.
*Added a Last Whisper and The Bloodthirster comparison.
2012-08-24 *Made Last Whisper and The Bloodthirster comparison more correct.
*Fixed some typos.
2012-10-04 *Added Greater Quintessences of Swiftness to the Rune choice.
*Updated Karma in the support section.
2012-10-10 *Fixed some typos.
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