Akali Build Guide by Incanzio
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.
Introduction - Chapter 1
Hello Summoners! I have been compiling my tips and tricks for Akali for a while now, and have been developing my own skills with her, and I'd like to make this special in sharing everything I know about her. To put something in perspective, I have mained Akali for over 300 MATCHES, with an 80% win rate. You may ask, what IS Akali? Is she an AP Carry, An AD Bruiser, an Assassin, a squishy destroyer? Well to answer your question, yes, she is ALL of these things.
Akali is a very powerful hybrid champion, who scales with AD and AP on her skills, she has a very powerful skillset, combining burst, stealth, AOE and a MASSIVE Gap-Closer, into one sexy package ;)
Read my in-depth guide, understand her mechanics, and embrace the SHEER power that is..
Akali - The Fist of Shadow.
The Origin of Akali - Chapter 2
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 - 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.''
- Credits to Bryun for providing an insightful lore.
Skill Sequence; Why? - Chapter 3
Akali's skill set allows her to be a true ninja, slashing necks with her karmas, hiding within a shroud of darkness, spinning and dealing AOE damage to her foes, and a dash which defies physics, which is able to be used up to 3 times!
Twin Disciplines (Passive)
This is one of the most versatile, and powerful level 1 passives in the game, not only synergizes with your other abilities via Spell Vamp, but it allows your Mark of the Assassin to hit much more damage upon burst.
Mark of the Assassin (Q)
Mark of the Assassin is a perfect ability to take a point in first, as it provides a heavy burst at level 1, an expendable last-hitting mechanic, and a energy-refreshing ability, perfect for keeping your energy levels up during team-fights.
Twilight Shroud (W)
One of Akali's most well known moves. Her smoke cloud, use this to your advantage! You can use this to create zones, intimidate enemies, farm freely whilst pushing your lane, and getting out of sticky situations. This is an ability that makes Akali truly unique, as it provides a space that creates invisibility, whilst not making her overpowered by infinite invisibility.
However, you are not totally invulnerable, there are numerous champions which can see through your disguise, and find you even within the shroud!
Lee Sin with his Tempest / Cripple & Sonic Wave / Resonating Strike.
Twisted Fate with his Destiny.
Nidalee with her Bushwhack / Pounce.
Caitlyn with her Yordle Snap Trap.
Kog'Maw with his Living Artillery.
Corki with his Phosphorus Bomb
Good thing to note, any champion with an AOE effect, or a skillshot that can hit you, it WILL hit you if it lands.
Also, any champion who has the effect of an Oracle Elixir Oracles Elixir, can see you.
Crescent Slash (E)
Her Crescent Slash is a great, low cooldown AOE burst in which Akali slashes her blades around her in a circle, not like Wukong, but more like Renekton. This ability scales not only with Ability Power, but also with Attack Damage, making AD and AP pure Akali builds viable, however merging the two is more effective for the passive.
Shadow Dash (R)
Akali's ultimate is a powerful gap closer, with large range, and allows her for great escapes, juking, and fast, clean cut kills. There is a 1 second "cooldown", however she can only "generate" another opportunity to use this skill every few seconds, but stacks 3 times allowing three gap closing bursts.
The unique perk of this skill, is that if she gains an assist or a kill on an enemy champion, she instantaneously gains a stack, even if it wasn't the last skill she had used, nor if she even used it on that enemy at all!
Pros and Cons - Chapter 4
// Very bursty //
// Has Stealth Elements //
// Very low Cooldown Times //
// Has strong lategame and post level 6 //
// Strong Gap-Closer //
// Able to juke and escape whilst dealing damage //
// Highly Squishy //
// Not much teamfight capability unless other CC is used //
// Has no movable or targetable CC //
// Requires special runes + masteries to be great //
// Countered hard by any De-Stealth items / Abilities //
Item Sequence - Chapter 5
Akali's early game usually sets her up for her late-game destruction, so it is VITAL that you keep her safe, and you ensure you stay in lane for a maximum length of time.
Mobility on Akali is essential, with a MS with Boots of Speed of 375, she is very mobile which allows her to get first blood with ease. You can get 4 health potions by waiting at the base until you gain 15 coins to get that extra health potion, which will give you more sustain.
The Spell Vamp on the Hextech will synergize well with your passive, boosting you to around 20% if you have the runes, giving you amazing sustain in lane. The other choice, being if you haven't farmed and perhaps this is your DEATH in lane, is a Blasting Wand, giving you good damage on your Q allowing you to come back.
Obviously in Top Lane, you NEED to ward, I suggest you ward the River where the lip to the river is from the tri-bush, as this provides many angles of vision.
Core Items (Vital)
Firstly, the Rylai's Crystal Scepter is a VITAL Item for Akali, as she has NO natural CC on her own, and she has no on-hit effects. This can be used to secure a kill, because even if you land one spell and they FLASH, you still have a major gap-closer + a slow to help you gain the kill. Not only does Rylais give you alot of Health, as Akali is squishy by default, it sets you up for many kills with a slow and extra AP.
Will of the Ancients Explanation
Will of the Ancients ties 20% Spell Vamp aura for you and your team, with 40 Ability Power for a very low price. This ties in with your AP scaling, which allows you to do extra damage. The greatest thing about this item, is that it synergizes with your passive, and DOES stack with your passive. However, you can NOT stack this effect, as quoted by "tribness" -
hope it helped
Lich Bane Explanation
Lich Bane is probably the best item on Akali possible, because it has the BEST Synergy out of any champion, in the entire game. Her Q will PROC the on-hit buff, ready to activate, upon her basic attack NOT ONLY will she deal her damage from her Q, but she will also deal equivalent damage to her Ability Power. This also gives her alot of AP for her damage, and boosts her with a bit of magic resistance.
Secondary Items (Interchangeable)
Abyssal Scepter Explanation
The reason I choose Abyssal Scepter on Akali, is because it allows her to penetrate the living hell out of the enemy, whilst also being tanky from the given Magic Resistance. This is especially effective against a Heavy AP Team..
Rabadon's Deathcap Explanation
This item is usually if you are extremely fed, and you wish to become a Glass-Cannon Akali, usually paired with a Abyssal Scepter, this item is used to gain massive AP, the only downside to this item is that it costs so much, and the passive is Unique, and does not provide anything else other than Ability Power.
Void Staff Explanation
This item is a cheaper version of the Abyssal Scepter, but usually bought against a high Magic-Resistance champion / team. Key champions to build against this item:
Galio - His Passive makes him forcibly buy Magic Resistance in effect.
Shen - Overall tanky as hell.
Alistar - Same as above.
This item is great on Akali, it's like a Brand Passive being placed onto your basic attacks, in combination with your Spellblade mastery, it amplifies your damage TREMENDOUSLY allowing you to output massive amounts of damage from one single Q proc.
Situational Items (Heavy AP, AD, HP?)
This item is only good, if the enemy team is focusing you alot during teamfights, or if you are dying alot.
This item is perfect to counter any Ranged/Melee AD DPS Such as Master Yi or Caitlyn, this grants 100 armor, making you semi-resistant to their damage, and repels 30% of their damage back to them, however this is NOT effective upon champions who have alot of lifesteal e.g. is an item commonly used to counter Thornmail.
Ranked Play - Chapter 6
The Key to playing Akali to her best, is to play Passively Aggressive, which implies you hit when you can, only if you cannot be caught out for certain, or make a mistake. This allows you to be on maximum health, whilst also pushing your enemy out of lane.
There are a few fundamentals that Akali should focus on, shown below:
Early Game (1-6)
Stay back and farm the minions. If the enemy tries to advance upon your turret, place down a twilight shroud to create a zone, usually pushing him/her back.
However, if the turret is on low health and they ARE going to get it, do NOT stay there. Always call MIA's, no matter if they have been gone 10 seconds, or 10 minutes, always call MIA.
Ensure that you are last hitting as much as possible, and taking as many opportunities to poke at the enemy. When you think you can execute a kill, use the following combo:
You throw your Mark of the Assassin to your enemy, Shadow Dance to close the gap, then upon basic attack it activates the extra damage from your Mark of the Assassin, followed by a Crescent Slash and Ignite and they will more than likely die. If not, you obviously have 2 more Shadow Dance stacks left, allowing you to gain a kill!
You need to focus on a balance in all things (pun intended.) You need to farm when possible, ward when possible at the vital points on the map, you must also help in destroying the squishies in teamfights, whilst also maintaining a safe standing point.
Twilight Shroud is a perfect example of doing this, you are able to jump into the middle of a teamfight, confusing and scaring enemies, perhaps calling off a teamfight you know you cannot win, or delaying it to a more viable point.
Summoner Spells - Chapter 7
I recommend Flash as a viable spell for Akali, as it synergizes with her escape mechanics, and her gap closer mechanics. This spell is especially useful for other champions which have a large gap-closer like Corki or Renekton
Ignite is a MUST on Akali, as this provides her with a finisher in-case all 3 gap-closers fail to land that last little bit of damage, this is also helpful for killing tankier enemies such as Shen and Rammus.
Teleport is useful for getting places, Akali has a decent base-movement speed, and therefore the cool down required for Teleport sometimes isn't worth it, besides, you have Spell Vamp survivability, and you shouldn't be getting pushed out of lane, but we'll touch on enemy match ups in the next chapter.
Even though Akali is NOT an AP DPS Champion, having the extra burst of Ability Power can help alot.
Ghost is decent on Akali, as it increases her already-fast movement speed, making her a chasing queen. However, if Akali gets stuck within a team-fight, and she has no way out, it's almost guaranteed death.
This is not a good choice for Blind Pick, however, in Draft/Ranked picks, you can see who your match-up is at top, usually the more tanky, non-supports go top-lane. If their team has heavy CC and you are capable of removing Ignite, then do it. The use of Cleanse not only removes CC effects, but cancels the tick's on any DoT such as Ignite.
If you are having trouble or just learning to play, Heal is a viable spell, as it keeps Akali in lane for longer, or allows her to survive after escaping many DoT's (Damage over Time Effects e.g. )
This spell is extremely useful if you don't have a Rylai's yet, also it helps cancel ganks from the jungler.
Smite is only viable if you are Jungle Akali, which is hardly viable, but could be decent around level 6 with unstoppable ganks.
If you are not level 12, or this is one of the only spells you can use, opt to use this, it just provides a large minion for the enemy, which deals alot of damage to turrets, not a great spell.
If you are having troubles maintaining your Mana on Akali, then you are clearly high as a kite, because Akali uses ENERGY.
Support Akali? No.
Enemy Matchups - Chapter 8
In the top lane, Akali WILL encounter some challenges, and she will encounter SUPER EASY enemies, and this list is dedicated to those enemies. Obviously, any champion which has a de-stealth element or massive sustain will destroy you, keep that in mind as a general guide.
If you are in a Ranked/Draft pick, and see a Lee Sin, don't even bother trying to lane against this guy, he can burst you through your Twilight Shroud effortlessly, he can reveal your location and out-sustain you, if there is a ganking jungler it just adds on to how hard this lane would be. My only advice? Build armor early, ensure you can kite him and dodge his skill shots, if he reveals you, try to burst him down if he comes close.
Also, stand near the edges of your Twilight Shroud, this will ensure he has a lesser chance of landing his skillshots.
Shen is quite difficult to destroy in lane, as he is based around tankiness and supporting/sustaining. He has a Taunt which can rip through your Twilight Shroud, he is naturally tanky, he has quite bursty abilities, and he can escape via his Shadow Dash and Stand United. My advice? Build Magic Penetration early via Sorcerers ShoesSorcerer's Boots, and build yourself an Abyssal Scepter early, in order to negate most of his damage, whilst keeping sustained and bursty.
Gankplank lanes can go two ways, if you play your cards right and out-lane him, and gain the first kill in lane via the Jungler or just by yourself, you are almost guaranteed to win the lane. The annoying fact about Gankplank, is that he only TRULY begins to fall back around 3 deaths and 0 kills, if he can get to around there he will SUCK late-game.
However, if you give him that first blood, or the first 3 kills, you have almost destroyed your late-game. He becomes tanky and a bursty damager late-game. My advice? Kite his Parley, and don't get heal baited by Heal ScurvyHeal Scurvy, if he activates his Raise Morale, then ensure to stay back for a while, as this is a huge steroid in lane.
Renekton is a gap closing, alligator cheverolet movie theater. You cannot change that fact. Anywho, he is based upon raw damage, and low survivability, however he can get in there, deal damage, stun you, and get out before you say "Turkey". My only advice is to ensure if he DOES slice in next to you, or on you, throw down a Twilight Shroud, this will mean he cannot focus you, and if he does after, he won't have an escape mechanism as it will be on cooldown.
This lane can go two ways, he will be annoying early game, as the amount of damage you'll be doing won't equate nearly to his, but post 6, you will destroy him in lane, as long as you have not died nor has he got a kill, and you're at relatively even Creep Score. My advice, utilize bushes, ensure that if he stops moving (idle) to be aware that he will be sneaking up on you (most likely) and that you should be wary of the surroundings.
Warwick has VERY DECENT sustainability, much more than Akali, however his initial damage and post level 6 damage is nothing to be afraid of, however if he gets a gank from a jungler, you are almost guaranteed to die. My tips? Tower hug, as if you get caught out he will use Infinite Duress, which will suppress you for a couple of seconds, allowing mass damage from both he and the jungler. If he is low, don't be afraid to tower dive using the combo shown earlier in the guide, ensure you get an Ignite on him, as this will reduce his chance of living dramastically.
Cho'Gath becomes hugely sustainable and tanky late-game, so my advice to you Summoner, kill him early, and KEEP killing him, keep him out of lane, kite his abilities, if you are getting ganked, Flash and Twilight Shroud are your FRIENDS. Use them wisely!
Fiora is almost a joke against Akali, she has a large AD steroid, useless against you if you are constantly spell-vamping, and she is Melee, and has a couple of short ranged gap-closers. She can repel your damage upon - hit from your Mark of the Assassin, that won't matter though, as you can nullify her entire ultimate by using Twilight Shroud, which makes her practically a useless AD melee carry. My advice? Outfarm the hell out of her, buy an early Giants Belt to out-sustain her, and then farm up the creeps!
This Tidal Trickster is not one to be messed with, he is squishy and all, but he has massive burst damage, and he doesn't even have to take a scratch, Akali usually takes a couple hits since she has to activate her bursty damage via Basic Attacks, Fizz just throws a shark at you, lunges in, hits you with a heavy DoT, and jumps out, like nothing even happened. He can also chuck his shark into your Shroud, making you take damage and be immobolized for couple of seconds. Advice? Build Magic Resistance, Negatron Cloak is especially good, as it nullify's alot of AP damage.
Queue Dodge. That's my only advice. You can't kill him, he spins whilst you're within your shroud, when you exit he can burst you like Darius, and be as tanky as Shen. The only possible way to kill this guy, is to hope he is a noob, and if not, get your jungler to almost camp your bush until he makes a mistake.
Probably the most balanced lane post level 6. Early, you will have to kite his Flamethrower and other abilities, as they WILL push you out of lane quickly. Post level 6, you can ninja his *** so easily, but if you get caught out of position, he won't even have to try in order to kill you. My advice? Negatron Cloak.
Before level 6, you will outlane this guy SO HARD. You have lower cooldowns at all ranks, you have higher damage, and you have the ability to dodge his abilities. At level 6, this guy becomes a threat, as even if you Twilight Shroud, he can pull you out. My advice? Kill him early, stay on the opposite end of your shroud to him, and build some early armor.
Riven has the whole package. Ranged attacks, stuns, knock ups, shields, and insane damage. Riven is not someone you want to mess with before level 6, without your jungler. She can stun you whilst in your Shroud, she can damage you whilst in your Shroud, and most importantly she can kill you whilst in your Shroud and she doesn't even have to be ABLE to see you! My advice? Get your jungler to gank EARLY, try zone her, ensure she doesn't come near you via Kiting her, and build armor.
Huge Harrass, low cooldowns, high damage. Sounds a bit like Akali, doesn't it? He is similar to you, however he has a vital disable, and an INSANE gap-closer in certain situations. My advice? Ensure he cannot land his Spears on you, kite him, Twilight Shroud if he approaches, and build armor. MAKE SURE your jungler ganks!
This lane has two possibilities, the one who gets their Hextech Revolver first, wins the lane by default, or the one who gets the first kill. Vladimir is based upon Creep Score, he doesn't have massive damage, at any point during the game, however his ultimate will ensure he does alot of damage, and it can be casted through your Shroud. However, you can burst him down quickly as he doesn't have anything to negate your damage, except for Sanguine Pool, but it's distance it covers will be negated via your Shadow Dance. My advice? Negatron cloak, and get the kills!
Kill her early, Magic Magic Magic PEN PEN PEN I cannot stress that enough! She will likely build into a Wit's End REALLY early, negating your damage, buy a pair of Sorcerer's BootsSorcerer's Boots, and you will be on your way to destroying her face. She can stun you, and that's great and all, but her ultimate deals little to no damage, as it is usally used for farming massive or lines of creep-waves.
Jax is a situational champ, if you allow him to kill the creeps, and allow him to harrass you, and stun you, you lose the lane. However, if you harrass him, and kill him early on, you win the lane. Advice? Build Mercury Treads in order to negate the length of time that the stun that he applies. This will also lessen the damage of his Empower.
Warding - Chapter 9
Credits go DIRECTLY to Panglot's guide on Wards.
For a more in-depth view on wards, http://www.mobafire.com/league-of-legends/build/warding-helper-more-than-your-eyes-can-see-54337
I will categorize the wards by priority.
1. First priority (marked as "1" on the map) are the wards revealing the Dragon and Baron Nashor. These two creatures are very essential for winning the game.
After the Dragon spawns (2:30 min) you should have a ward on him and gank your enemies if they try to take it.
Also when the mid game begins you also want to ward Baron (spawns at 15:00) because taking it your enemies will have great advantage.
2. Second priority are the buff monsters (marked naturally as "2" on the map). The buff monsters provide really good buffs so your enemies will want them. The places they are at, can also be reached by many ways. So if you place a ward on the right place, you can cover 5 - 6 ways plus the buffs so badly needed for the win.
3. Third priority ("3" on the map) are the wards preventing the ganks on your lanes. Used mostly during the lane phases and less when the lane phase begins.
4. Fourth priority ("4" on the map) are places where you can just cover a fair number of ways or just the most used gank places. Warding such places is most useful if you push a lane and you need vision. (e.g. if you push top, ward the ganking places in the top forest so you wont be surprised).
Again, all regards to Panglot's great work, and I utilize this material as not my own but for educational and promotional purposes :)
Final Words - Chapter 10
My heart goes out to Bryun, the one who inspired me into playing Akali, I replicated him in playing many many matches, and understanding how to use her properly. I wrote a guide in honor of him, I know this won't be as good as his, because he is the true master of Akali, but I will be editing it time and time again, adding more information on how to play, zoning, and more sections dedicated.
Thanks for reading, please comment if you vote, so I can understand what I did!
6/21/2012 - Finished the Chapter 8, Chapter 7, and Chapter 6. Edited Item Sequence for wards.
7/26/2012 - Edited the header images for each chapter, tribness fixed comment, reported troll-votes which are being removed soon.
9/29/2012 - I still look here guys :P If anything updates I'll make sure I change bits of my guide!
17/02/2013 - Realized it had gone stale, I need to really improve my guide so I will.. just in my finals year and this isn't as important at the moment :P