Akali Build Guide by Rufix
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.
Hi, hope you're gonna like, I also ask you not to downvote without giving reasons in comments, we'll all get better if we discuss stuff :)
First of all I'd like to say thanks to kodama3, whose guide at leaguecraft.com gave me very basics of playing Akali and fundaments of becoming proficient with her. Those of you who know his guide, may see some degree of resemblence, and for those I'll state in advance: I don't mean to get famous on somebody's else work, I've got my own thoughts about Akali, also this site does not have any Akali guide which is complete and fully competent.
As every selfrespecting Akali knows, Hybrid builds are baaaaad, mkaaaaaay kiids? But about that in a moment.
PS. Constructive criticism is welcome, it's my first guide ever, so sorry for bad style:)
Why Ability Power?
Well, seeing Akali's passive your first idea prolly is: "amgz, hybrid chaaaamp keewwwl!". Reality is bit harsher, and Akali does mediocre as a Hybrid.
She is high burst damage champion, her burst phases are happening more frequently than sunny days on Sahara Desert.
While AD gives you Spell Vamp, you need to deal damage for spell vamp to be efficient. Why having big, bad tank without ammo for it. (It's also a reason to get Spell Vamp items later).
This alone serves for reason not to go AD, add to it crazy burst and she comes out as pure AP champion.
Tho' theorycrafting and maths MAY show that Hybrid is better than AP, you need to take into account, that they're usually idealized and pure theoretical, often omitting important facts that usually appear during game, or worse, fight.
-Sexy (especially with Blood Moon skin:)
-Contrary to many other assassins has place in group
-Fun to play
-When snowballs, it's avalanche
-Hard to master
-Sexy (many of you will stare at her instead of playing:P)
-Should have at least one Hybrid item or AD Runes to activate both passives
-Squishy and countered by CC/Oracle/Ward
-Requires good judgement and careful play
15%+8.55 Points of Magic Penetration
10% Spell Vamp
6 Armor and Magic Resist
At level 1, activating both passives and giving you nice deal of survivability during early game.
9x - as AP champ Akali suffers from enemy's Magic Resist, this allows you to ignore some of it during early game, which helps a lot with ganks - your main source of gold.
9x - dodge grants you survivability against melee champs (especially AD carries) on lane, and serves you well during whole game. Lucky dodge may grant you a kill or save your kills streak :)
9x - good alternative for dodge seals. It's up to your personal preference. Armor is more stable, while dodge can save you from some sticky situations (CAN!)
9x - additional AP is always useful, together with Masteries and Quints it activates your passive:)
2-3x - as above
0-1xGreater Quintessence of Vigor - lets you stay in lane for longer which is very important early game, because below level 6 you are really crippled.
Many Akali players use Offence oriented Masteries, this ain't bad of course, but I feel like I lose 11 points just to get additional 5% damage. Of course 5% damage is a lot, but is it worth 11 points? For those on bad terms with maths (like rly bad?) I'll add it's ~0.45% damage per point.
In addition I feel way more comfortable early game with this build. And it is crucial as Akali to have a good start or at least not die, as it sets you back in both leveling and farming, leading to getting 6 and Rylai's later.
Instead of wasting 11 points, you can get:
a) more survivability (which gives you more room for dmg items)
b) 4% more AP (Akali scales great with AP)
c) looking tanky early game (~650HP at level 1 if I remember correctly)<-that's like wearing a big bling bling!
I see most Akalis play with Ignite and being completely unable to use it. Don't stick with it, it's not only vialable Summoner Spell.
Flash is a must have, it's your main escape tool when Shroud is on CD, or when Shroud ain't good idea, it's also great distance closer when enemy is out of Shadow Dance's range. Just take it
Ghost is your choice if you still don't have Flash. Generally it's bit worse, but lets you run through minions and champs which really helps. Sometimes tho', Ghost may be better than Flash, yet these are sporadic situations and I don't recommend taking it over Flash
Exhaust is my second choice, not only it makes your enemy unable to run, when you still don't have Rylai's (or Rylai's not enough somehow). In addition it's amazing defensive cooldown to use when enemy manages to outdamage us (happens late game with AD champions if you just catch them in the open).
Ignite can be your second choice, it gives you additional damage during early game (later damage, while still vialable, ain't so good), more importantly though, it applies healing reduction debuff which can sometimes grant you last-ditch kill.
Mark of the Assassin
You need to maximize your Mark of the Assassin as soon as possible. It's your main burst ability, which with full build above deals ~800 damage within one Mark+Melee Hit combo.
Basic trick to Mark is to cast it, and then just before its cooldown ends: trigger, cast again, trigger, early game it's crazy combo sending most of people running away.
It's also worth mentioning that Mark, when triggered returns up to 40 Energy, making its efficient cost funny small.
Despite being your only defensive cooldown, and most important ability, Twilight Shroud should be maxed out as last skill, yet chosen at level 2.
As mentioned above it's a defensive cooldown, so don't waste it as initiator. Of course you can see me throwing shroud early game like an opener. Explanation is simple, casting shroud next to enemies during laning phase will mostly make them run away, and if they won't you have 8 seconds worth of safe harrasement.
As for proper use of Shroud as defensive ability, well it's all your imagination.
I've seen people charging in and casting shroud immediately, which is very risky, especially if you initiate fight this way. You also need to be very quick with shroud, and make sure there's no Ward/Oracle on 2nd side. Safer way is to wait 'til someone initiates. Still this method may lead to your doom leaving you completely defenceless in case of lost fight.
Personally I prefer to save shroud as last-resort ability, when running or getting caught. Try to lay it near bush or, if your Flash is off cooldown, trees/cliff. Latter lets you flash through barrier, disappearing completely.
Also don't forget that you won't get visible immediately after leaving shroud, use it to your advantage, leaving shroud in place furthest from nearest enemy.
Furthermore, Shroud can be use to slow down chasing enemy, but make sure enemy will have to cross whole Shroud to utilize slow effect to maximum. It's also bad idea to slow down enemies while chasing, no one knows who lurks in bush few yards further:)
It's also great ability to use while fighting high damage champs. Cast Shroud and use Mark combo: cast Mark of the Assassin, run around Shroud for a while not attacking, trigger Mark, cast again, trigger, disappear. It's worth casting Mark beforehand, so you don't waste precious time on your Shroud:) Killed pretty tankty Olaf this way... Ah yes I started with ~70% HP, he was maxed out.
Remember that it removes you as a target for chain abilities like Double-Up Double-Up, yet it doesn't work for any AoE, including Karthus's ulti.
Crescent Slash is your main farming ability.
You need to be aware that it's AoE, so Rylai's effect with it is just 15%.
Also don't use it while chasing, unless you're going for kill with it. Just like Mark of the Assassin and Twilight Shroud casting it makes you stop, letting your enemy run away and probably forcing you to waste Shadow Dance.
Above doesn't apply to Mark, because it's your main nuke ability and its damage is much higher.
It's worth mentioning that procs / / increasing your burst against towers and letting you cut down creeps around. As you're gonna use you should already be aware why AP stacks better with this ability, than AD:)
Should be your second choice to skill up.
Shadow Dance is your ulti. It may seem underpowered or too little for an ulti, but its synergy with Akali is simply unmatched. There's no way someone can run from you unless they Flash over the wall while your Flash is on CD, or properly use slow+Ghost/different speed up, yet latter does not guarantee success:)
It's also great for tower diving and well, last hitting:) Recently got triple kill just with it, finishing 3 runners which were out of range for everyone else. Oh yes, its range works to your great advantage.
Be careful how you spend Shadow Essence tho', you don't wanna see enemy Flash away just after your 3rd mindlessly used Shadow Dance:) So remember not to use it as nuking ability, but catcher up/finisher.
- decent starting item, activates Discple of Might passive, grants you some more survivability early game by HP and Life Steal. Together with Quintessence of Vigor lets you stay in lane for long, long time.
- decreases impact of CC on you and grants some magical defense:) They can be changed to:
- if enemies are tanky and have little or no CC
- if you are up against team with 3+ strong AD carries
same as Sorcerer's Shoes, just remember lower CDs means you run out of energy faster, and it can be dangerous in team fights.
- grants you reliable slow, nice amount of HP and decent AP. This should be first item to complete. Some say it's too expensive for your first item, and if you're not doing too well farming/ganking, you will do better taking Hextech Revoler. If you're fed and doing good, there's no reason not to wait.
- expensive, but extremely useful item. With this and Rylai's you are already above 300AP. I get it after boots, but if game seems to last for long it can be taken later.
- following this guide's item build you should be at 410AP+Runes+Masteries after getting this item. This means additional 410 damage after using ability, not more often than each 2 seconds. With full build it'll be ~650 damage. It's expensive, but a must have. Also grants you more survivability via Magic Resist and increased Movement Speed, which can be extremely useful while chasing.
- with this you will supercede your Doran's Blade. It's another expensive item, but it also grants you 45% Spell Vamp (25% flat + 20% from passive (60AD converts into 10% (for activating passive) + 10% from other 50)) and 20% Life Steal, which connected with your burst is more than amazing. Active part ain't so good with Rylai's, but some more damage is always useful.
This leaves you with 1 free slot, most probably you won't be able to fill it, unless you are more amazing than Spiderman. Anyway good choices for 6th item are:
- consider buying this anytime you want, but remember that it's as good as you, so if you can't keep it above 10 stacks, sell it.
- it's damn awesome if enemies stack Magic Resistance, otherwise it's bit useless
- great item, decent AP, grants whole team 20 Magic Penetration and you also get high amount of Magic Resistance, great with heavy AP teams
- should be first choice to consider after discarding Mejai's, it gives nice aura effect and even more Spell Vamp
- amazing against high HP teams, also nice CDR component, just remember that Magic Resist affects active
- great defensive item, use against heavy AP teams or when that Karthus's ulti deals 1500 damage...
- another great defensive item, 2sec stasis and high armor are incredible against heavy AD teams
- great stacking component, with great 20 stacks bonus, just remember it's as good as you, yet can make your life much, much easier
- if you are being focused in team fights it's considerable option, yet personally I'd rather get Banshee's Veil or Zhonya's.
- that Master Yi is making you nerdrage and cry for help? Well let him come then:) This item is amazing against AD champs, if enemy team has some high dmg and fed physical dps this gives you biig edge. Using this as Katarina, Irelia, Nocturne and it never fails.
- enemy team is CC heavy? Have problems running away? Late on Shroud by miliseconds? THIS will save your *** many, many times. And it's also very cheap, so if game doesn't go as good as it should, this item can turn the tables :)
All these can be bought anytime after your Rabadon's/Lich Bane is complete. Just keep in mind you need some AD and Gunblade is a must have.
TankyMcGanky told me I should go for Trinity Force over Lich Bane.
First of all, Trinity Force is 600g more expensive. This build is already over 15k, so every coin counts.
Secondly, Trinity Force gives you less AP than Lich Bane, AP which is what Akali turns around, as her only role is nuking. You cannot forget about Magic Resist, because you can never underestimate defensive stats as Akali.
I agree that Triforce gives you some AD, but 30 AD means nothing. If you read triforce's proc's description you'll notice it affects only BASE Attack Damage (which means, without bonuses). 6% Spell Vamp and 250HP is not worth 600 gold, 50 AP, Magic Resist and way better proc.
Ah yes, proc. Lich Bane's proc gives you ~400-500 bonus damage after using ability, not more often than every 2 seconds. And it's at same moment you complete it. Triforce's proc will grant you ~165 damage for whole game at level 18 under same conditions as Lich Bane.
If someone says "Slow" now, he's obviously blind. Rylai's already grants you very nice and reliable slow, while Triforce's slow is 25% 'on hit' chance. While it's very good for Irelia and some other champions Akali is far from auto-attacking champions, before this procs, your enemy will probably be far, far away. Not to mention that Rylai's slow is ranged slow if proc'd with Mark:)
I've seen many Akali's playing with Guinsoo's Rageblade. 2 words: it sucks. No, really, it sucks, honestly. You need constant use of abilities and auto-attacks to get it's fullest. Yet by the time it's maxed out you'll probably be half way done, not to mention Attack Speed ain't worth it, and there're better items for lesser price:)
Hextech or Lich Bane?
As some of you may have noticed, in first build you get Lich Bane first. In second you go for Hextech Gunblade.
Well first of all, in second case we're 1/3 done with Hextech and it's simply cheaper and faster to get it. I also assumed that you didn't have ideal start in this case, so it's better to have more survivability (via SV+LS).
In other words, you should take Hextech Gunblade over Lich Bane when game is harsh and difficult for you as a player. Lich Bane will do better when your team is properly built and they don't let enemy get to you too early.
Much depends on your skill though, if you have hard time surviving team fights, get Hextech, if you can dance like proper assassin going in and out quickly, take Lich Bane.
1. Harras a lot, your Mark of the Assassin is amazing harrassing tool. If you have enemy at low HP out of your range, running to his turret, try this:
Mark->Flash in front of runner->Trigger
If he's still alive (miracle?) Exhaust and Mark/Trigger again. Then move back and finish 2nd one:)
2. Focus on last hitting, you can use Mark of the Assassin for that, but be warned, it won't return Energy this way. Good idea is to cast Mark and finish minion with auto attack
3. If you've been pushed back to your tower cast Twilight Shroud and harras using Mark/damage minions with Crescent Shroud.
4. If your partner jungles, stay in exp range and try last hitting with Mark, when they're at your turret put Shroud (preferably in front of turret) and harras them, tho' they should run immediately, if they don't, do what you do best - nuke them:)
5. Play as your partner lets you, if he's aggressive, be aggressive, if he's defensive, stay defensive. If he's bad (doesn't chase sure kills or dives when there's no or little kill chance) just hug turret, it's fuzzy:)
6. Utilize Double Mark combo as much as you can.
7. Akali is decent solo laner and 1v2 laner. It's hard tho', so don't do it unless you feel very comfortable with her. If you don't feel extremely comfortable tho', you can hug turret and last hit, then kill too cocky enemy:)
8. At level 6 start ganking, Akali does way better as ganker than laner:)
9. Akali can lane with practically every other champion as long as Summoner's mindset is proper. You'll see this very quickly if you think alike or not.
First of all, remember: Akali's best with proper runes and masteries, so at lvl30, but you can faceroll noobs at low levels if you learn how to play her quickly:)
You'll do best with team that's set up just for you, Kali requires lotsa communication and loses much of her shine when teamed up with noobs or defensively playing ppl.
When attacking someone, you need to make decisions and judgements quick. I often screw up on this part. You should know beforehand wether to use shroud immediately after opening or with delay. If enemy can outdmg you or shut you down with CC, Shroud is something to cast immediately.
When facing another Akali, one to use Shroud 2nd gets great advantage.
Akali does great in jungle, so if you change lanes, roam around map looking for gank or just wait for some action late game you should go and jungle. It gives more gold and exp to your team while you also get a bit :) But don't try playing her as a jungler, she's too squishy and can't gank pre-6.
Last words: turn your brain on, it's most important as Akali, you may use different build, you may not like mine, but as long as you're thinking, you have an advantage. And don't just mimic this build every game (oh well, I think it's considered 'thinking')