Akali Build Guide by Winstn

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.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Winstn

Akali - Pentakali nuf said. (Comprehensive Guide)

Winstn Last updated on January 3, 2013
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

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.



Offense: 21

Honor Guard

Defense: 9


Utility: 0

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As of 4/10/11 im going to be rewriting this guide, i'll be writing all updates here and with season 2 underway, there have been a lot of Akali's around that i think could use the help. I'll keep the guide brief and easy to understand, enjoy.

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Pros / Cons

Why play Akali? Eh cause she's awesome. Oh besides that?
-Extremely High Burst.
-My build provides high Survivability.
-Shut down of almost every carry.
-Extremely proficient 1 v 1 character.
-Is usually underestimated.
-Has many viable builds.
-Hard to counter "Twilight Shroud" (Her little purple pool)
-Last hitting made easy.
-Energy reliant.
-Viable as a mid solo, top solo or partnered laner at bottom.

-Hard to play well and master.
-Runes are costly.
-Requires experience with other heroes to perfect.
-May/May not get aimed first (varies on the skill level of teams)
-Energy and "Shadow dance stacks" reliant.
-Slightly disadvantaged when enemies have oracles/pinkwards.

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The basic runes i run are
9 Magic Pen Marks
9 Dodge Seals
9 AP Per Level Glyphs
3 Hp Quintessence

The basic gist of it is, Magic pen for the increased damage through out the game, Magic Pen is better than flat AP first off because it's a Mark (reds) Flat AP Marks suck balls, nuf said. I use Dodge Seals to compliment my masteries later on you'll see if not you could stack Armor instead however with my masteries as they are Dodge would be more beneficial. Here's a tricky one and there's a lot of variables i use Ability Power PER LEVEL, not FLAT. What I think is when playing Akali you'll rarely be able to kill someone in your early game phase. You don't have your ultimate yet, your skills aren't ~that~ strong and you don't have the best chasing potential, that being said AP PER LEVEL Glyphs give a higher amount after level 6 and it's only after then do people fear you. That's just my justification, im sure you could find runes that suit you however these ones are what i personally always use and recommend.

The area is for different types of rune builds that people may say are viable. Okay so i whipped out my calculator and i'll be doing some statistics for you.
Viable Marks.
icon=mark of insight size=32

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Masteries quite simple folks, use a process of elimination, you don't exactly want to be in utility, the utility tree are usually for mana-casters that rely on cooldowns and mana regen, akali requires cooldowns but not mana regen. Now some of you may have seen what masteries i use and strongly disagree with the defensive tree however it's not that bad. As stated earlier you place points into increased Dodge and Nimbleness which is why the runes are very beneficial, not only that but when playing Akali you have two roles, a shut down and a carry. The defensive tree benefits both, providing a percentage of AP and survivability. Offensive tree is in a sense, yeah not bad however on the way to get Havoc (4 % increased magic damage) there's alot of wasted points, you'll need to put points into masteries that provide attack speed, not as useful as health on akali, you'll need to get increased damage etc etc and in all honesty it's not worth it.

For summoners I only ever change Exhaust for Ignite. I mainly get ignite due to its extra damamge that could land you you're frist blood kill and finish off other champions, the good debate on how useful it is compared to exhaust late game doesn't really matter. People justify getting exhaust for the slow however after your rlyais additional slowing is unnecessary. I will use exhuast instead of ignite if :
-They have a team with lots of AD (exhuast cripples them dramatically, not as much to AP)
-Your team does not have CC (when i mean does not have CC i mean THERE'S NO ****ING CC)
That aside, the other summoner i use is always Flash, it has amazing uses and causes many annoying situations such as "That mother f*cker flashed over the wall again" it's a real nifty escape ability if used well and it can be used like your ultimate before lvl 6. Scenario being, you throw a at a hero and decide to 'pop' it by flashing in and whacking them. A real good use of flash, so between those 3 summoners, Exhuast, Ignite and Flash

Why you don't get other types.
Ghost isn't as bad as the others but i prefer flash as it works as a early game Shadow Dance, you've got the surprise factor of flashing next to them. Ghost works as a sprint, your hero gains speed enabling chase and escape which in a sense isn't as useful on Akali. There won't be alot long chases when you play as an akali and if there is ghost isn't the right way to counter them. Truth be told if you are confident and prefer Ghost over Flash there's no convincing i can do, it's all based around play style.
Teleport is useful on some champions, not this one. When you play Akali you have to substitute either Flash or Ignite for it which is a tough choice, if you sub out Ignite you'd have no counter against heals and low early game damage. If you sub out Flash you'll have no escape abilities which is always essential. If you did have to choose i'd choose Flash and Teleport still use teleport with your own discretion.
Smite? Yeah sure if you plan on jungling but that's not the proper way to play Akali, she's played as a glass cannon burst with extreme lane domination, how're you going to that while killing wolves? In short, i wouldn't recommend using this or jungling at any matter.
Cleanse is an all around skill where ANY hero can take it, it works as a lucky charm if you know you'll be getting heavily aimed with stuns, snares etc. Still it's usefulness in my opinion doesn't outweigh the extra damage and healing reduction from Ignite and it definitely isn't better than Flash
I believe this is self-explanatory.
So is this.
And this.
And this.
Yes, mana is useful.
Okay this is an actual exception, Clairvoyance is actually a very beneficial summoner but it's not suited to Akali, mainly support champions should take it, also some tanks i've seen them used on. In summary, it does not go well on Akali.

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Akali's abilities in general, all of akali's spells are ABILITY POWER RELIANT so stacking items that have Ability power would be a good idea...

Twin Disciplines. Not alot of guides expand on this, Akali's passive could be tricky the first time you look at it.There are two components to it, the first is the first basically means if you stack ABILITY POWER you'll receive bonus magic damage when you attack with your melee. The second component is if you stack ATTACK DAMAGE you'll receive bonus spell vamp
Most top level Akali's have a nice balance between the two however leaning more towards the AP side is the way to go.

Mark Of The Assassin. This is your main damage skill, it has a short cooldown of roughly 4-5 seconds, deals half the damage on initial impact, it deals the full damage after your trigger it by melee attacking. You can tell because there's this little floating sword think above the heads of people you've marked. Most of Akali's burst comes from this skill, also after triggering the mark you get your energy replenished. You'll notice if you continue to spam you'll be energy starved sooner or later.

Twilight Shroud. There's alot of uses for this skill, people say the slow is priceless and i say it's useless, twilight shroud is used defensively, it gives you bonus armor and magic resist for a reason and also takes a huge hump of energy to cast. The only case where you'd use twilight shroud to slow is if you're saving someone and you're clearly safe otherwise it should always be saved for when you're being focused. A good example being a wild olaf appears in the jungle, you decided to take him on you drop relatively easy but he's dealing a tonne of damage due to his passive, you twilight shroud to save yourself and wait for your cooldowns to burst down olaf. Remember it should only be used defensively as an escape or slow, a common mistake by akali's is they Shadow Dance in and instantly shroud not only does it waste energy but the slow isnt significant enough for it to outweigh damage from your Mark of the Assassin and Crescent Slash

Crescent Slash. Crescent slash is an ability where Akali hits everything around her for damage it scales with AD and AP. Crescent slash uses alot more energy than Mark Of The Assassin so you'll only be using it for that extra bit of damage that you can do if you're up on energy if not, it's best to save it for when you're in team fights and able to slow as many people as possible with it. As a tip when clearing creep waves dont overly spam this skill it causes you to be energy starved, good use of Mark of The assassin is a better way.

Shadow Dance. This is akali's ultimate and it can only be used when you have a 'Shadow Essences' the maximum being 3, they build up every 10-20 or so seconds depending on cooldown reduction. On to the skill itself, Shadow dance is a almost instant magic attack where you dash quickly towards the enemy and kick them in the face for damage. The reason why this ultimate is awesome is because it works in harmony with your other two skills Mark Of The Assassin and Crescent Slash by Shadow Dancing to heroes you open up the potential to deal huge amounts of damage due to the range factor being closed down. Not only does it rape face but it can also be used defensively, not always but you can Shadow Dance to laning and jungle minions for an instant get away. Knowing when and when not to do this comes from experience so keep playing Akali!

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Core Items.

Items items items, now there shouldn't even be an item section since you will always vary your items depending on your team but in my opinion every Akali MUST GET THE FOLLOWING
-Rylais Scepter
-Lich bane
-Rabadons Deathcap

Rylais is a definite, every akali player will get it, why's it so necessary you ask? Well it's because Akali has zero cc's (crowd controls, these include slows, silence, stuns, fears, snares, anything that stops you doing what you'd like to) with the Rylais it allows Akali with already awesome chasing ability due to her ulti to further enhance ganking and gameplay with the continuous slow.

Lichbane next, well we'll start off with Sheen, Sheen is an amazing item, especially for akali, with Sheen Akali at lvl 3 can deal approximately 300 damage in an instant with her Q (Mark of the Assasin) It is an amazing increase in damage that can be provided relatively early game and last you through till the end as you turn it into a lichbane. Lichbane is basically an improved version of Sheen, later in the game you'll realise that your AP will be higher than 100% of your AD rendering Sheen ~NOT AS USEFUL~ by this time it's worth your money to invest into a Lichbane whether you get it prior or after your Rabadons does not matter, the damage increase is quite significant and will scare the living **** out of people.

Lastly is Rabadons, i reckon Rabadons is an item every hero that relies on AP should get, it's the bulk of where your AP comes from, if not for that 155 AP and an additional 30% increase of your total, your AP would be substantially decreased resulting in heaps of problems, mainly not milking out enough damage. Priority wise, Rabadons should always come first however farming that 3.6k gold would be golly hard so i recommend getting Rlyais, Sheen, then start building rabadons, with those items you would be able to survive in group fights thanks to Rylais and be able to put out enough damage and burst.

I'll go into detail of why other items are not included in my build when you play Akali, items such as Deathfires Grasp or Guinsoo's Rageblades. I'll also elaborate the way i play Akali and the items i get, please look forward to it folks.

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Variable Items

Now to get into variables, these are the Hextech Gunblade and Zhonyas Hourglass if in a game where you're clearly carrying, you're heaps farmed, continue to build AP items such as the two above, the Vamp-Steal in Akali's passive is triggered already by the Doran's blade. I don't sell that until VERY VERY VERY late unless i buy a pickaxe instead to supplement the Vamp-Steal, other than that by the time i get Hextech it's my 5th item meaning i have big bulk of AP already, this being said the Vamp-Steal from Hextech and Akali's passive is barely noticeable until you've gotten enough AP.

Zhonya's Hourglass is basically an all-rounder item, in many cases you'd substitute Zhonyas or Hextech for a pure defensive item such Guardian Angel, Banshees Veil, Quick Silver Sash etc. I recommend Zhonyas when you dont feel the need for two lives (Guardian Angel) and you'd like some more AP to shred through their tanks. It's not uncommon for some people to substitute Rabadons for Zhonyas simply because it provides excellent survivability, a 2 second statis (invulnerable time) and some armor is just the trick to counter so many heroes. These include Tryndamere, Veigar, Sion, Master Yi, etc.
Items that Akali players may favour getting but aren't as good.

Deathfire grasp isn't a bad idea but it isn't suited for Akali. Other items can work better for akali if you'd like more burst, the active of deathfire is, yeah sure beneficial however but not good enough for it to replace a key item such as Hextech Revovler or Zhonya's Hourglass. Rating wise i'd give it a 6/10, the active is the bulk of the damage from DFG but it's easily countered with magic resist.

Guinsoo's rageblade doesn't provide sufficient AP until it's at 8 stacks unless you continually spam Crescent Slash before a fight you'd be handicapped trying to build up the stacks. Only after you've built up enough bonus AP do you start to deal damage with totally destroys akali's "instant burst" that everyone is afraid of. Rating wise for me it'd be a 7/10, slightly better choice than DFG as it has some AD that is slightly useful although it hinders akali by providing a small amount of AP and restricting her burst.

/ Mejais/Occult, these two items aren't included due to the simple fact of them being too risky, also occult providing attack damage which isn't as beneficial as ability power. In any game you play you should always use your on discretion on whether to buy snowball items or not, if you believe that you can keep the items with at a constant stack of 5 or more, then you've made a profit. Bare in mind the team your up against when deciding whether or not to buy these items, example being if they have a team with extremely high burst (Veigar, AP sion, Jax) it'd be hard to keep a high amount of stacks if you're constantly dropped.

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Endgame Defensive/Offensive items

If you follow my build correctly you should have items
- Rabadon's Deathcap
- Lich Bane
- Rylai's Crystal Scepter
And variable boots with using either
- Ninja Tabi - Heavy AD teams
- Mercury's Treads - Heavy CC/AP teams
- Sorcerer's Shoes - Balanced teams
The last two items should vary depending on the teams so here they are.

Balanced Teams

Firstly build your normal Sorcerer's Shoes.Balanced teams have a variety of damage, AD and AP so it's best to simply build for more damage meaning the next two items have already been mentioned. The two items being Hextech Revolver and Zhonya's Hourglass The vamp steal, armor and 2 second statis all providing suitable survivability for fights against balanced teams. It's simply not worth it to build end game defensive items for AD and AP, buying a Thornmail and Force of Nature would not benefit as much. Besides the two defensive items i recommend also provide AP which continues to up your damage. In summary you can get these items against balanced teams.
Zhonya's Hourglass
Hextech Revolver
Guardian Angel
Sorcerer's Shoes

Attack Damage Teams

For heavy AD teams it's best to build Ninja Tabi normally it'd be useless but due to your runes and masteries you have an increased amount, an amount that makes buying those boots worth it therefore you get them instead of Sorcerer's Shoes. That leaves you with two slots to counter their heavy damage, i recommend a Thornmail it's not as expensive if their team is ~not~ that heavy on Attack Damage a Guardian Angel is also suitable. The last slot definitely belongs to good ol Zhonya's Hourglass it also provides armor and the invulnerability is what makes it special to counter certain attack damage heroes. In summary, viable items to counter heavy attack damage teams are.
Zhonya's Hourglass
Guardian Angel
Ninja Tabi

Ability Power Teams

As always, change your boots according to their damage, in this case definitely get Mercury's Treads, it provides some magic resist and defence against crowd controls. In most cases, heavy AP teams have huge amounts of burst meaning once again Zhonya's Hourglass is essential, another good item to counter AP teams is good old Banshee's Veil, it's negation of one spell may seem useless but it's quite handy, also it provides a bulk of HP which one again helps you survive. An item i dont see very often against Ability power teams is Abyssal Scepter it provides a decent amount of AP, reduces MR resist for nearby enemy champions and best of all provides Magic resist to the holder. You're gaining survivability while at the same time increasing ability power and damage overall. Another short mention to an item anyone and everyone can get is Guardian Angel, who doesn't like an extra life also who doesn't like seeing 3 people blow their ulties just so you can come back alive and start killing again? In summary items to get against ability power teams.
Zhonya's Hourglass
Guardian Angel
Abyssal Scepter
Banshee's Veil
Zhonya's Hourglass
Mercury's Treads

Tanky teams

Against tanky teams it's best to stack as much damage as possible however using at least one slot for survivability is necessary. For boots using Sorcerer's Shoes is important for the Magic Penetration, that being said your 5th slot item will need to be a Void Staff It provides 40% Magic Penetration which is needed to burn through the Magic resist of the tanks you're up against. With that you'd have approximately 450-500 AP which is enough to burn through tanky teams, for the last item i recommend getting Zhonya's Hourglass just for that extra bit of damage and armor, also it's active. You could also try a cheaper alternative of Abyssal Scepter] which also works well against tanky teams. In summary, items to get when against a tanky team are.
Zhonya's Hourglass
Abyssal Scepter
Void Staff
Guardian Angel

Crowd-control Teams

Alright in the last match-up you're against teams with heavy Crowd-control, they're made up of crowd-control heroes, some typical examples are Amumu, Annie, Sion, Twisted Fate etc. Firstly you'll change your boots and buy mercury treads with that it provides some magic resist and note ALL STUNS ARE MAGIC DAMAMGE so that MR comes in handy it also provides that nifty bit of tenacity that reduces all stuns and snares. Now i honestly don't recommend the AP Tenacity item which is Moonflair Spellblade the reason being it provides a small amount of AP and the fact that it has an extra 25 tenacity isn't as bad. You're substituting damage for less stun/snare time. Besides the Moonflair Spellblade viable items for defence include a Banshee's Veil it provides that necessary Magic Resist and health as well, don't think because you don't have mana it's wasted, it's still very useful. Other than those two i could only recommend Abyssal Scepter for the AP boost and magic resist. As always Zhonya's Hourglass and Guardian Angel are still viable. In summary items to get against CC-teams are.
Mercury's Treads
Moonflair Spellblade
Banshee's Veil
Zhonya's Hourglass
Guardian Angel
Abyssal Scepter

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Here it is folks, my gameplay style i reckon this is the most important part of this guide. You could follow the runes, masteries, items all perfectly but still fail miserably if you don't know proper gameplay procedures. So im going to let you in on a comprehensive guide on real gameplay, not tips and tricks, not clues and hits. Straight forward gameplay. Here goes.

I start off getting a Dorans blade and head to my lane, while laning always remember not to push, it's important to have the minions as close to your turret but not at turret range so that you can last hit easily, when last hitting as akali i personally kill the minions with my Q instead of triggering the mark to kill as that results in heavier pushing. I'm not going to say things like "by 10 minutes you should have your Sheen" but really folks by 10 minutes you should have your Sheen . Usually after i get my Sheen the person im laning against thinks "Pft nothing special" and usually afterwards i land myself a kill depending on if you're solo or not you should be able to dominate your lane with lots of harassing with this combo.
Start off with Mark of the Assasin DO NOT TRIGGER IT Before the Mark fades away,Shadow Dance in and Trigger the FIRST Mark now that the cooldown is finished use another Mark of the Assassin then trigger that aswell. That usually results to about 600-700 damage at lvl 9 in 2 seconds or so. I'll expand more on putting out burst damage in another section, this is just a start.
You're now into the middle of the game 10-20 minute marks lots of ganking should be happening now, you'll be relying on your teams cc's since it's rare for you to have a rylais that early, with that in mind you should have at least your and working to finish it. Continue to do good ganks, remember that you have great potential as a turret diver and can easily get out before getting raped since you have flash.
The game doesn't change as much after you get your Rylais, it basically means not alot of people can fight you 1 v 1, if they do and fail and try to escape it'd be very likely they survive due to the constant slow.

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Akali's burst comes from miscalculate damage and surprise. Agree with me on this. Akali's Mark Of The Assassin [show=mark of the assassin size=32] has two damage parts, one when the spell hits and two when spell is triggered. That in mind a mark lasts 6 seconds, you're cooldown on Mark Of The Assassin[show=mark of the assassin size=32] is 3-5 seconds. That in mind, here's how the combo works.


There's an extra damage version of this by using straight after your Shadow Dance .

1 v 1'ing + Tower Diving (Video Included)
In a 1 v 1 situation you shouldn't even think of tower diving until you have at least two stacks of your ultimate, it's also a good idea to have Flash and Ignite off cooldown, just in case they're needed to finish the hero off and escape. You'll want to do your typical burst combo where the hero already has a Mark of the Assassin on them, you'd then Shadow Dance and trigger the mark and then apply a new Mark of the Assassin and trigger that as well. In the video i do exactly that and use flash to escape, flash wasn't exactly necessary but better safe than sorry?
2 v 2 fights, who to kill, what to do. (Video Included)
In 2 v 2 fights you'll most likely be the main damage dealer, 2 v 2 fights can occur if the same lane is being ganked or counter ganking occurs. Your role is to put out as much damage as possible, you can do this by either aiming one person and shutting them down OR doing as much damage to both of them so that you're partner can finish them off. In the video the match up is Akali, Amummu VS Tryndamere, Yi. I take the risk of trying to burst down Tryndamere before he ulties and becomes scary, i succesfully do that well and the two of us then finish of Yi with a pro hook. The scenario was we we're counter ganked but they didn't seem to calculate the burst and overall damage of Akali therefore they died. /league-of-legends/ability/spinning-slash-70 /league-of-legends/ability/shadow-dance-253 /league-of-legends/ability/shadow-dance-253

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1 v 1 Matchups.

This area is simply for the match ups you get in middle or solo lane. How to counter, what to do, how to kill. Truth be told you'll never be able to kill certain heroes that are PLAYED WELL nevertheless i'll try and guide you through each possible mid/top solo lane match up. There a few ways to counter heroes that are extremely proficient at laning in middle. A) You can gank other lanes and hopefully gain an upper-hand by kills/assists and return to middle and dominate. B) Gank mid with junglers or side laners to hopefully gain the upperhand and zone your opponent.
Potential heroes that lane mid.
Yeah an Annie what a pain right? To gain the upperhand against her in a laning phase is quite hard. As an Akali laning against Annie it's important to know her capabilities. An example being, just because she isn't lvl 6 does not mean she cant kill you. The maths is, at lvl 5 Annie can deal 500 damage including a stun, a second Incinerate and Ignite. ALSO WATCH HER PASSIVE, if you ever see her with a charged stun ready, don't even think of going near her. The only way for Annies to dominate is by harassing you enough so that she can catch you by surprise and burst you down, DO NOT GET HARASSED!
Ahh Malzahar, you've got to always watch out for him. Many people underestimate his total damage output. Just think of him landing all his spells at lvl 6, comes to a total of approximately 700 damage or so with Ignite. People always think heroes are overpowered and Malzahar is a typical case but for any hero you think is OP or needs a nerf you just need to understand their mechanics. A malzahar will either never use his ultimate to harass (duh) and will most likely only ever use it when he can net the kill. So what im trying to say is DONT GET LOW ENOUGH SO HE CAN KILL YOU! A malzahar typical combo is to harass with Malefic Visions and Call of the Void so watch out for those two, once low enough he'll flash in Null Zone and use his ultimate Nether Grasp usually adding a cherry on top with Ignite. Okay so to counter one of the best mid-laners as Akali is to play it safe, don't get harassed, try to get the last hits as much as possible and wait it out until you think you can drop him. Harassing him with Mark of the Assassin is a good idea but make sure not to get harassed back. Always keep in mind that Malzahar with using a combination of any two skills nethergrasp + (Something else) can deal outrageous amounts of damage. Final tip, try your best NOT to take him on by yourself.
Ashe ashe ashe, i simply love laning against an Ashe somehow you're built to counter all her spells, she has a slow to kite you but you have Shadow Dance, she's got a stun and volley which once again can be countered by increased armor with Twilight Shroud. Start out slow, don't make the mistake of rushing in and dealing as much damage and harassment as possible, get last hits, harass with caution and when you're level 6 hopefully you would have had harassed her enough to get a kill with Ignite and 2-3 stacks of Shadow Dance

To be continued.

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This is it for now

This is my 2nd update, i started this two days ago and i've come pretty far, hope you guys like it and are benefited by my guide. Look forward to videos of combo's, juking etc. Also expanding on gameplay in teamfights and solo fights themselves against certain heroes. After this guide i plan on making a top tier level guide on how to play akali in ranked games and higher elo, for now thanks for reading, please comment and rate.

1st update - 7/7/2011 Made the first stuff to the guide and fixed errors.
2nd update - 8/7/2011 Added in abilities and items and fixed errors.
3rd update - 9/7/2011 variable item builds, end game items and fixed errors.
4th update - 10/7/2011 Added hectic videos to combos tips and tricks. Also some bragging screenshots.
5th update - 17/7/2011 Finished off defensive builds against CC-teams.

What i have coming still, finishing off endgame items against cc teams, elaborating more on viable rune builds. Expand more on general gameplay and things you can do differently as akali compared to any other laner. Uploading screenshots of hectic games with akali using my runes, items, gameplay techniques. Hopefully i can record better quality and better videos in general for the tips, tricks and combo's section.