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.
8/11/10 -- Looking at swapping a Guinsoo's Rageblade for my Bloodthirster. Will let you know how this works out.
8/12/10 -- Made the switch listed above and changed up the build order a bit by delaying the finish of the Phantom Dancer.
8/13/10 -- Changed the crit glyphs for attack speed glyphs. Testing it to see if it will be permanent.
8/15/10 -- Switched out the final item in the build from the Infinity Edge to a Bloodthirster as you don't get a stacking critical damage bonus from the first one.
8/28/10 -- Switched the build order swapping the Infinity Edge and the Hextech Gunblade. The active ability on the gunblade is too nice to wait to get it. Going this route with the AD/AP items first is quite nice considering Akali's passive. Also included Ignite in the summoner spells section.
5/9/11 -- Been a little while and actually took some time off from the game. Re-did the entire item build up, masteries, and runes as I've found the old AS/AD combo just wasn't getting it done anymore. Haven't reworked the guide section other then this update, but I will.
This being my first guide, I'm going to start with a disclaimer. I have no idea how people do the fancy images in builds so this description section may look a bit bland. I also know full well there are many builds for Akali already and this similar build might even be posted as I haven't looked at every single one. I have tried the AP style builds and they didn't seem to work for me. I am posting this to get feedback and to offer up my thoughts on what makes this champion work. If you have constructive thoughts to add to help me out please share them in the comments and thanks in advance for the help/thoughts.
I'm not going to go into lengthy breakdowns of each of Akali's abilities as you can just mouse over them above and see what they do. I will discuss how I use them.
Mark of the Assasin:
This is your starter for ganks and even farming. You aren't a mana champ so blowing energy for farming doesn't hurt anything. The lead in damage and combo this adds to your next hit is well worth paying attention to and using when it's up.
This ability is your utility spell. Use it to get away when you're being chased. Use it to scare enemies off turrets early and mid game. And lastly use it to slow enemies that are chasing or trying to run if you need.
A great farming tool and a great extra bit of damage when trying to gank. Late game this will help clear minion waves pretty fast and although there are clearly better farmers this still makes you pretty quick at pushing lanes late game.
This is your bread and butter gank skill after level 6. It also makes you one of the best chasers in the game. If you get someone on the run, you win with Akali unless they get to help or a turret but with the damage you'll do that's not going to happen often.
The runes I have listed are what I am using as I am leveling through the 20's and playing more then just one champion. There may be a better combo to maximize this build but those will get you started pretty solid. The extra health in seals will allow you some extra leeway early game to avoid being first blood if somebody tries for you.
The masteries are set up to maximize the DPS and give you just a slight bit more survival. Nothing in the top of the utility tree, other then ghost because I use it, seemed worth it.
I use Ghost and Teleport most of the time. My substitute would be Ignite.
For me it's all about mobility, need to escape out the other side of your Twilight Shroud? Ghost is your best friend. Need to get across lanes when teleport is down? You get the idea.
Early game you will take damage in your lane and staying in lane or getting back to it quick matters. Use it late game to get back into a fight quick or save a turret.
I've been using this quite a bit lately as it really helps with first blood. It's also very nice to get that running tank who got out almost dead just after your 3rd Shadow Dance charge got used or any champion tailing out the other side of a team fight that you've danced in and out of with your ultimate.
I start with the Boots of Speed as being mobile in your lane as a melee farmer early game is very important to avoid the area of effect or target area spells champs will throw at you. The 2 health potions I grab are for obvious reasons.
First trip back you want to grab your Berserker Greaves and if you've gotten first blood start building your Zeal. After that start working towards your Guinsoo's Rageblade. As much as like the AD side of Akali, getting your passives up and running makes this a perfect choice. Not to mention, it's got attack damage and a stacking speed buff on it.
By this point, mid game should be started and you'll want to get an Hextech Gunblade as soon as you can, the active proc on this is great. Then finish the Phantom Dancer for it's crit and upped attack speed and to complete your core build. Squishies at this point should be dropping too fast to know what's going on you can even lay down some great team damage in the big fights.
The last 2 items are situational. For now I've listed Infinity Edge and a second Bloodthirster. If you find your health pool too low, pick up a Frozen Mallet. Other then that I'll update this more if and when I find myself with builds going that far and have some time to play with it.
That covers most aspects other then how I actually play her throughout the game. So let's get to it.
At this point in the game you want to farm and last hit creeps like crazy. If you are laned with a good partner first blood is not out of the question by any means. Try to lane with stunners or tanks, either with range preferably, if you can. Remember your combo at level 2 with Mark of the Assasin/Crescent Slash. Work through farming and get your build going ASAP. Try to stay in lane but don't be silly about it. If you are low health go back and don't feed the other team.
By mid game you should be up to your Phantom Dancer. Be mobile and help with lanes. As you are a great finisher and gank helper, you should be able to push if not hold your lane to neutral and help other lanes if you are pushing yours. Keep being active but play smart. You aren't going to win 2v1's unless both enemies are low so don't dive in a feed for no reason.
By this point in the game, hopefully your team has made good progress and is working together. Your farming ability is good enough that you can pressure lanes by yourself, but again play smart. Don't go solo and feed. Keeping the enemy team at bay is your main goal here though. You are a great chaser and a good damage dealer in team fights. Keep them dead and push while they stay that way.
Good luck! I hope this works for you as well as it's working for me. Sure, there's probably better champions to do this with, but I like Akali and her skill set so I use her when I can.