Akali Build Guide by desteny95
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 is an extremely fun hot ninja chick. Her potential in solo queue/NA meta is really starting to shine. Akali excels at dealing large amounts of burst damage, arguably some of the best in the game. Her role in a team is generally labeled as an "anti-carry", someone who singles out the enemy team's squishiest and highest dps champions and rips them to shreds. And of course, Akali is amazing at what she does. This guide will tell you what you need to know to be facerolling in no time!
PROS AND CON
- Amazing assassin
- Decent farmer/laner
- Can jungle
- Deceptively strong burst
- Great chasing/juking abilities
- Snowballs well
- Squishy melee
- Countered by CC/focus/oracle's elixirs
- Skill/micro intensive
- Requires good judgment/awareness/decision-making
Akali's passive is what makes her a viable hybrid. She gains bonus magic damage from AP and spell vamp from AD. With AP runes+3/3 Archmage's Savvy and AD runes+3/3 Brute Force, both buffs will be activated at level 1.
Mark of the Assassin:
This is Akali's main damaging ability. Max it first. Use it to harass early game. Whenever it's safe to fully engage, wait until the cooldown is up to burn the first mark and afterward use it again for a double auto attack double mark burst. Deals tons and tons of magic damage, fast.
This is Akali's stealth ability, which gives her the control she needs to dominate her lane. Use it in the thick of a team fight, for zone control, to juke, to 1v1 kite, to slow enemies, and for face checking brushes. Be advised that it starts at 80 energy, so be careful when using it while bursting. Use it at the edge of brush or around a corner to juke. Flash out of it when death is otherwise imminent. Also don't forget that it gives Akali armor and magic resistance, so it just might save you from that DoT or turret shot.
This is Akali's only AoE ability. Use it for farming and bursting. Remember that its range is very short and easy to miss on fast moving targets. It scales off both ability power and attack damage, but only does physical damage.
Akali's ultimate is what defines her. You can do so many things with this ability. Start off a surprise gank with it, last hit that about to die creep, chase and kill steal like a pro, burst with surplus charges, and most importantly, juke. Does a surprisingly large amount of magic damage.
Standard burst rotation: Q -> R -> auto attack -> Q -> auto attack -> E -> W if needed.
Shadow Dance Techniques
Mastering the use of Shadow Dance to juke is essential to playing Akali to her fullest potential. Use it on minions to quickly disengage from a team fight if you are being focused and need to use hit and run tactics. Use it on minions after diving to avoid turret shots. Use it on minions to gain ground for a surprise attack, such as when a low health champ is pushing your turret. You can even use it on one champion to be able get to another behind him using it again to finish a kill.
Use it for escaping ganks if you overextend. One neat little trick is if Twilight Shroud isn't enough to get away from a gank, you can run forward and let the enemy champion catch up some, then Shadow Dance backwards (flying right past that champ) onto a minion and then run like hell. Also, you can use brush and corners to hide yourself until the very last second as an enemy approaches, then dash to a minion. These tactics come in handy when you get caught and simply running won't save you. Remember, you can dance all day. Your enemies cannot.
Akali has great synergy with jungle wards. Since you can Shadow Dance through walls, if a neutral monster camp is warded or a teammate is nearby, you can use Shadow Dance on it to escape. It also makes for an extra surprise factor against enemy champions if you have sight through a ward or teammate and you Shadow Dance through a wall.
1v1 and 2v2 Techniques
1v1ing with Akali is all about being in control of a battle. Think like a rogue. Keep your enemies scared and insecure. Know what your enemies are capable of. Will they be able to hit me in my shroud, such as Kennen? Will they be able to slow and CC me if I need to run, such as Shaco? Do I even need to waste energy for Twilight Shroud on that Ashe? When should I burst with Shadow Dance and when should I use Ignite?
Example: You see Dr. Mundo trying to solo Dragon around level 10. First thing to check for is where your enemies are. If you can see them laning, it should be OK to attack. If he isn't set on finishing off dragon, hit him with a Q and back off. Make him follow you, make him think you're his prey. Bring him to an area where you can easily escape (where there are a lot of corners) with Twilight Shroud in case his teammates start coming.
As soon as Mundo follows you to his demise, proc your Mark, use Crescent Slash, and throw down Twilight Shroud. 1v1ing with Akali is all about bursting and making sure your opponent can't retaliate. Kite him around your shroud, and make sure he isn't hitting you with Agony or Cleavers. Throw a Q at him, still avoiding damage, and wait until it is up again. Then auto attack -> Q -> auto attack for that double mark burst, and use E again. Then disappear into the shadows. Repeat until he uses his ultimate. Then use Ignite, followed by your standard rotation, having saved all 3 Shadow Dance charges for as much burst as possible to finish him off or for a getaway if his teammates come.
Keep in mind the same rules for 1v1ing as when you are 2v2ing, except remember that when 2v2ing you have a partner too. Don't let your enemies kill your partner while you are sitting hesitantly in your Twilight Shroud. For engaging, start off on their squishy with Shadow Dance followed by a quick Q and immediately pop Shroud and let them waste their CC on you, such as a Sion stun or Ryze prison. Wait for your teammate to attack and Shadow Dance in, proc Q, Q again, E, Ignite, saving a Shadow Dance charge for securing the kill. Boom, easy mode. Don't forget that kills/assists give you a charge back, so you can easily switch from one prey to the next.
Ignite: I like Ignite a lot, but I think Exhaust is good too depending on what your teammates take. Ignite really helps early game and to finish off that last tiny bit of enemy health on good escapists. Also, burn it on healers to reduce their healing/regen for an easier kill.
Flash: I feel that Akali is too squishy and doesn't have enough defensive options without Flash. Flashing through walls or out of Twilight Shroud will save you SO many times. Flash + Shadow Dance also gives you amazing chasing prowess.
Exhaust, Ghost, Teleport, and even Clairvoyance (synergy with jungle getaways) can all be used with great effect.
As far as masteries go, Akali has the best synergy with full Offense, since that is her primary role, KILL! Basically grab everything except the minion damage and crit damage. With the recent Havoc buff, she can put out tons of damage. You can get away with 9 Defense instead of 9 Utility, but Awareness is near essential for Akali to snowball. If you prefer Exhaust over Ignite don't forget to take Cripple.
Any lane works for Akali, though a solo lane is the best idea as Akali gets real strong with levels. Start off with your Boots of Speed and x3 Health Potions (or x4 if you wait at spawn). Boots are useful for last hitting without getting chased down. Try to keep your cool early on and don't engage unless you have to. Most ranged champions can hit you easily without repercussion. Use your Q to farm without getting harassed. Use Twilight Shroud for more safety while farming. This can also zone enemies away from their creeps and you can punish them if they get too close with a quick Q + auto attack. If you can secure a kill using Flash to proc a mark, go for it!
Your next two items will be Hextech Revolver followed by Null-Magic Mantle. Also get some Sight Wards to protect your lane.
Edit: Since the Hextech Revolver nerf, I have become very fond of skipping it and rushing straight for your Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Having a Rylai's around level 10 can truely turn the tide for your team in early fights! I will keep the Revolver as an option for if you are struggling in lane, but I much prefer and recommend getting Rylai's as fast as possible, possibly even before finishing a boots upgrade.
I strongly recommend Mercury's Treads, as crowd control is Akali's biggest weakness. Getting a Void Staff makes up for the lack of Sorcerer's Shoes. Ninja Tabi can be good against strong physical damage teams and goes well with Nimbleness in the Defense tree and Dodge seals (if you're playing ranked, you can always change your setup depending on the enemy team composition).
Your first completed core item is always going to be Rylai's Crystal Scepter. Try to start with the Giant's Belt. Rylai's is just too perfect for Akali. +80 AP, 500 Health, and ability slows? Absolutely necessary. No Rylai's, no Akali. Your job mid game is to attack any low HP targets and help slow runners for your team. Pop your shroud if you are in danger or get targeted. Be on the constant look out for Oracle's Elixirs for the rest of the game, as you have to play a lot more carefully if the enemy has it.
If you are going to want a Mejai's Soulstealer now would be the time to get it. I personally don't take it because, well, it's a risk, and you might not get any stacks. If you go this route, it can help to go for a Hextech Gunblade or Guardian Angel next for more durability instead of the usual Rabadon's Deathcap or Lich Bane.
As you head into late game, work towards your Needlessly Large Rod for Rabadon's Deathcap. I choose this item over Lich Bane because I feel it gives me a little bit more burst and doesn't waste the gold on a mana crystal.
Edit: Since the Rabadon's Deathcap nerf, Lich Bane is slightly more appealing. I honestly don't know which of the two is more potent, and I find myself switching between both. See the next section for more details.
Why not get both a Rabadon's Deathcap and Lich Bane? Well, there are other items that are more important than just having pure damage. I usually want either a Guardian Angel or Hextech Gunblade and there isn't the time or gold to get both a Deathcap and Lich Bane beforehand. Then, a Void Staff also needs to be thrown in there! So, Deathcap or Lich Bane? It depends. Basically, I have two different builds that I switch between. It very much depends on your role on the team, the enemy team comp, and what the enemy team builds.
For example, if I know I will need to get a Guardian Angel very fast (usually against AoE ult teams), I might build Merc -> RCS -> Lich Bane -> GA -> VS, Lich Bane being the better option here because I don't have that much AP to benefit from the Deathcap. If I know I will need sustainability in long team fights, I might go Boots -> Revolver -> Merc -> RCS -> Deathcap -> Gunblade -> VS. The important thing is that you be adaptable. I don't normally reach a 6th item, but it would either be whichever I didn't get between the Deathcap and Lich Bane (if you need more damage) or Gunblade and Guardian Angel (if you need more survivability), or one of the items below.
Banshee's Veil is a situational item you might want vs. combo champions like Anivia, Blitzcrank, Leblanc, Morgana, Pantheon, Rammus, Ryze, Singed, Sion, Swain, or Veigar. Some other options are Zhonya's Hourglass (for champs with ranged stuns or slow moving projectiles like Brand's ult or Karthus's ult), Quicksilver Sash (for Malzahar ult or Warwick ult etc.), or Will of the Ancients if your team needs one. Of course, if you really need one of these items, you can always get it right after your Rylai's Crystal Scepter.
Don't dash into a group of enemies or they will focus and kill you. Single out lone squishies after enemies have used their first cooldowns on your teammates. Hit and run if they switch focus to you. Never be the first one to engage in a team fight. Wait until the tank's engage and the enemy team has their sights on one of your teammates. Then pounce their squishy and roll face, hard. Don't just stay in the thick of things if you are under fire. Hit and run. AoE abilities will kill you fast. Keep your Twilight Shroud and Flash ready for any emergencies, making sure there aren't any Oracle's Elixir out there.
Your priority targets should be low defense high damage enemies with little to no hard stuns or silences. Perfect examples are Ashe, Ezreal, Heimerdinger, Karthus, Kog'Maw, Yi, Miss Fortune, Nidalee, Sivir, Sona, Soraka, Teemo, Zilean. You should be able to kill them so fast their teammates have no time to respond. Wait a few seconds after the team fight starts, and jump their squishy using the following combo: R -> Q -> Mark auto attack -> E -> Q -> R -> Mark auto attack -> E -> Q -> R -> Mark auto attack -> E. Use Twilight Shroud/Flash to avoid getting focus fired. You have to be aware of the entire battle and everything going on around you! Constantly watch champions with hard CC, if they use it on a teammate, it is a lot safer to engage.
If the enemy team has Oracle's Elixir be careful about engaging enemies such as Cassiopeia, Fiddlesticks, Kassadin, Leblanc, Lux, Malzahar, Morgana, Ryze, Sion, Swain, Tristana, Twisted Fate, or Veigar. They can CC very effectively and wait until their team comes to kill you. If you know you cannot retreat, do as much damage as possible! It can be OK to sacrifice yourself to win a team fight.