Akali Build Guide by Syzer
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
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.
Akali, The Fist of Shadow
There exists an ancient order originating in the Ionian Isles dedicated to the preservation of balance. Order, chaos, light, darkness -- all things must exist in perfect harmony for such is the way of the universe. This order is known as the Kinkou and it employs a triumvirate of shadow warriors to uphold its causes in the world. Akali is one of these shadow warriors, entrusted with the sacred duty of Pruning the Tree ï¿½ eliminating those who threaten the equilibrium of Valoran. A prodigal martial artist, Akali began training with her mother as soon as she could make a fist. Her mother's discipline was relentless and unforgiving, but predicated on the fundamental principle: "We do that which must be done." When the Kinkou inducted her into the order at the age of fourteen, she could slice a dangling chain with a chop of her hand. There was no question ï¿½ she would succeed her mother as the Fist of Shadow. She has had to do much in this role which others might find morally questionable, but to her it is in service of her mother's inviolable doctrine. She now works with her fellows Shen and Kennen to enforce the balance of Valoran. This hallowed pursuit has unsurprisingly led the triumvirate to the Fields of Justice. "The Fist of Shadow strikes from the cover of death itself. Do not impede the balance."
Pros / Cons
-Fun to play
-Great at farming and laning
-Amazing burst damage
-Great at chasing, ganking and jjuking
-Countered by Oracle's/getting focused/and CC
Discipline of Force - Upon obtaining 20 additional ability power, Akali's hits deal 10% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 5 ability power gained thereafter.
Discipline of Might - Upon obtaining 10 additional attack damage, Akali gains 10% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 5 attack damage gained thereafter.
Mark Of the Assassin
CoolDown: (6/5.5/5/4.5/4 seconds)
Akali deals 50/75/100/125/150 (+40% Ability Power) magic damage and marks her target for 6 seconds.
If she hits a marked target, the mark triggers dealing 50/75/100/125/150 (+40% Ability Power) magic damage and restoring 20/25/30/35/40 energy. Costs 60 energy.
Detailed Explanation: This is the main skill for the burst damage, as a triggered mark will deal a total of 80% Ability Power in additional damage, as well as deal the triggering auto attack damage, Discipline of Might passive damage, and Sheen/Lich Bane/Trinity Force damage. It is also the main skill for extended combat, because triggered marks return a large portion of expended energy, and with 4-6 seconds on the cooldown and an 80% Ability Power damage ratio, it is one of the highest AP damage returns per second in LoL.
This is also your main champ harass and last hit creeping skill in the laning phase. If harassing isn't working very well, focus on last hitting creep with by Marking, then Activating for easy last hits, a significant energy return, and healing from Spell Vamp.
Delayed Trigger of Mark of the Assassin Technique
This is extremely important. Notice is that the mark lasts 6 seconds, which is the same duration as the level 1 Cooldown.
If the target is marked initially but combat and attacks are delayed and timed correctly, two auto attacks in a row can set off two Mark of the Assassins dealing very heavy damage. This cooldown decreases as you level it (6/5.5/5/4.5/4 seconds) making this task easier to do at max skilling. This technique is key to maximizing initial burst damage. Wait for the cooldown to near refresh, then jump into combat to set off the first Mark, then Mark the target again and attack to set off the second Mark.
CoolDown: (20 seconds)
Akali throws down a cover of smoke for 8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains 10/20/30/40/50 armor and magic resistance and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her.
Enemies in the smoke have their movement speed reduced by 14/18/22/26/30%. Costs 80 energy.
NOTE: This is very important for defense and escape, but should be the last skill to fully level. Maxing Mark of the Assassin first is the most important goal to maximizing burst damage.
FLAME: For the love of God, do NOT start your ganking DPS combination with Twilight Shroud. It is not some kind of void pit of death that immediately consumes your target, don't use it as such. I have seen countless Akali's open their ganks with Twilight Shroud, and as expected, had zero successes in their ganks, failed to solo assassinate anyone, and pretty much failed the entire team. Not only does this waste half their energy on something that does no damage for opening DPS, but they are wasting their only defense mechanism by anchoring at a pointless location.
CoolDown: (7/6/5/4/3 seconds)
Akali flourishes her kamas, hitting nearby units for 30/55/80/105/130 physical damage plus (+30% Ability Power and +60% BONUS Attack Damage). Costs 60 energy.
This is your major farming skill once it reaches skill level 3+, as it will hit ALL surrounding units for respectable damage.
There is no energy return from using it so be careful. Starting from full energy, you can only do this a total of 4 times, and that's not using any other abilities that cost energy. Overuse will leave you with little to no energy to do your job of burst damage assassinating champs.
Using this ability at a tower will proc your Sheen / Lich Bane / Trinity Forcefor significantly more DPS on the tower, as well as cut down surrounding enemy creeps. Akali will tear apart turrets and inhibs once she is stacked AP proc'ing Lich Bane
CoolDown: (2/1.5/1 seconds)
Akali moves through shadows to quickly strike her target, dealing 100/175/250 (+50% per ability power) magic damage and consuming an Essence of Shadow. Costs 0 energy and 1 Essence of Shadow.
Akali stores an Essence of Shadow once every 25/20/15 seconds, and earns one for each Champion kill or assist, up to 3 total. She gains a single Essence upon activating level 1.
With a 50% AP return and a 1-2 second cooldown, this is a major addition to the burst damage. Once acquired it makes the Delayed Trigger of Mark of the Assassin technique much easier, and significantly more damage. With the stacked 575AP build, it could theoretically add 537dmg to the opening Delayed Trigger of Mark of the Assassin technique combo, as well as re-trigger the first Lich Bane proc if timed out.
Be very careful with consuming the Essences, I know it's tempting with such a short cooldown, but even at its fastest CD 15 seconds is far too long to wait for a final blow while chasing. Spam it only when it's a life or death situation, and you absolutely need your target to drop or backoff. With the Season One patch, you now also earn an Essence for killing or assisting. Feel free to use it to last hit fleeing champs, you'll get the expended Essence back anyway.
If your target is low enough health, open with Shadow Dance for the surprise attack. Shadow Dance's range is significantly farther than Mark of the Assassin, and since the target is low health, you will definitely have enough charges left to finish the job.
It is an excellent tower diving skill because of its long range and ability to pass through walls. Use the fog of war to your advantage and pick off low health champs at the tower.
Has many tricks to it, as I use it in early levels in place of Shadow Dance, and especially defensively with Twilight Shroud.
Works wonders early game with improved Ignite, and it also really shuts down lifesteal and regen carries
Vs Typical CC's:
This item is a must against any team with disables, which is pretty much every single game. Akali needs to be mobile and up close and personal. If she cannot close the distance to squishies, she will fail. If she cannot move, she will die. Stuns and Silences are the worst.
Vs Strong AD Carries: Ninja Tabi
This is only viable when there is little to no CC to lock you down, and you're facing heavy AD DPS carries. I originally did not support this, but now that they have normalized dodge "chance", I consider it a viable option.
Vs Magic Resistance: Sorcerer's Shoes
This item can add more burst damage for sure, but the question should always be asked, "how many disables do they have?" Any stuns, slows, and snares will stop Akali from her job of burst damaging. The less mobile she is, the easier of a target she is as well. There are very very few games that I will buy Sorc shoes over Merc Treads.
CD Reduction: Ionian Boots of Lucidity
Until this item was added, there were no viable CDR items for Akali (everything AP'ish has mana regen or mana). The Kindlegem was the most useful item, but it doesn't build into anything that Akali really wants. This option comes with the same warning as the Sorcerer's Shoes, make sure your opponents have little to no CC first. Also always remember, CDR on a ninja means they run out of energy faster, and there is no viable option to regenerating it quickly to keep up with your hasted consumption. Stacks nicely with CDR glyphs if you took them, and CDR in the Offense tree as recommended in the masteries. With all of these, grab the blue buff and you're sitting less than a percent from max CDR (and blue regenerates energy!).
Akali is a strong solo mid and can also hold the 2v1 lane, however it is not easy and I don't recommend it unless you're very comfortable with her. It is extremely important to fully utilize her Twilight Shroud as a harassment/defense tool in a solo lane, so before you try this, I highly recommend that you wait until Twilight Shroud becomes second nature. You'll need to be able to react very quickly with it, and hesitating to think about it takes too long.
Solo mid, she excels at shutting down squishy ranged carries, by zoning them out with the threat of massive burst damage. Using Twilight Shroud, you can tactfully deny CS and experience effectively. She is weak against champs with silences like Kassadin, targetable long range harass spells like Teemo, and champs that have a ton of shielding/healing like Mordekaiser. If you're facing a champ like this mid or in the 2v1, humbly bow out and accept the limitations of the Akali, not yourself.
Akali again, is very squishy, and I cannot say this enough, yet the best way to play her early game is by aggressively harassing enemy champs. She is very good at pushing them back off the creep, robbing them of experience and gold. If you can get your partner to stop pushing the lane forward, and only last hit creep, you will cripple your opponents in your lane.
Your lane partner makes a massive difference to you doing very well or just plain terrible. If the two players have no synergy, Akali harasses but her partner retreats/partner is far too aggressive Akali retreats, Akali will die, over and over and over. Notice I said players... She works fine partnered with any champ, so what matters most is the players. So many times I will feed early game because I am harassing, yet for no reason my partner will retreat to the tower when they have full health. Or better yet, my partner will dive in on full health champs for no reason, and I die trying to save them. If you notice your partner doing this, immediately stop aggressive harassing, because you cannot count on them to support you.
Akali is a true glass cannon, and very squishy so you need to take care of her while leveling. It will be very easy to last hit creeps in a lane, so try to control yourself and don't rob your lane-mate of all of the much needed gold. Focus on creep/experience denial and harassment first, then last hit creep once they back off. Your opponents in the lane should be either pushed off the creep wave and out of gold/exp range, or overextended to your tower so that your jungle/mid can easily gank them.
She does very well in the jungles, so be sure to take out the jungle creep between swapping lanes. It leaves more gold and exp to those laning, and overall more gold and exp for the team. But obviously, don't spend all of your time in the jungles, Akali is an assassin, so go do some assassinating and take out unsuspecting champs in lanes. Spending some time in the jungle after the laning phase intimidates all lanes while you're MIA.
In a group fight with Akali, knowing when to jump in is the most important decision. She should never ever initiate the group fight as she will die in a split second against a prepared group. It's a different story if they are unprepared...
Once the group fight starts and you see a decent amount of sparks fly, immediately Shadow Dance to the squishiest highest DPS champ and take them out with your high burst damage. With her burst DPS it will only take a few seconds. If the team is good, most of them will quickly turn their DPS to you and you will see your HP start to fall, but since you waited, most of their skills are on CD and their DPS will be lower, so immediately drop Twilight Shroud and do nothing. This is very important because you will stealth in combat and it will temporarily confuse them. They will blindly throw in skill shots, and waste AoE's, hopefully saving your team from most of that damage.
This confusion is critical to Akali in a team fight. With her speed and intimidating burst damage, enemies will want to hold their skills to use on you, yet the longer they hold them, the less DPS and CC they are doing to the rest of your team. In a short moment, the confusion will quickly turn to panick, and their team cohesion will weaken. They will be less likely to focus on one target, and will spread the damage more evenly across your team.
Again hold your actions until you see a few sparks fly, then burst damage down the next highest DPS squishiest champ. If their team is good, you will likely not survive the next wave of damage, however you alone took out a large chunk of their DPS. My Akali is frequently the only casualty on our side of a 5v5 group fight, with a total wipe on their side. Absolutely worth the death in my opinion.
If you are utilizing this tactic effectively, very often your opponents will buy an oracle potion or a vision ward! Pay attention to this counter tactic, because unfortunately, it works very well...
Akali cannot sustain full map lane pushes if she uses Crescent Slash a lot. It will eat her energy extremely quickly, and it is energy that she needs to defend herself or to dash into combat. Her best ability to farm long term is Mark of the Assassin, and limit Crescent Slash to once/twice per single wave.
When she encounters a very large creep wave, Crescent Slash can obliterate them very quickly. This skill does the best spread of damage on the wave when the wave is mobile. Once the ranged creep fan out across the lane it will not hit them all. Sometimes it is best to wait for the wave to push through your creep and become mobile again. Once they group up, Shadow Dance to the creep at the center and immediately spam Crescent Slash.