Akali Build Guide by B34stM0d3
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Hello there! My name is beasteezy and I will be explaining (in as much depth as possible) how to properly play Akali and take advantage of such an amazingly balanced champion. I would first like to note that this guide should only be used as a basis for your first few games. You should not follow this guide blindly as this will severely stunt your growth as Akali, and for that matter, any champion. This guide will teach you the basics of her play style and different tips and tricks about laning / team fighting with her. The only items I would ever recommend getting every time are the core items (which will be later in the guide). Everything else is always situational. With that being said, let's begin!
This is going to be your skill priority. Max Shadow Dance whenever you get the chance, then Mark of the Assassin, then Crescent Slash and finally, max Twilight Shroud last.
In this section I will explain what her moves do, what you should be using them for and when. I will also have tips and tricks you can use to increase your survivability and also outlane and effectively and (in some cases) aggressively zone your opponent.
Discipline of Force - Upon obtaining 20 Ability Power (rounds up from 19.5), Akali's basic attacks deal 10% bonus magic damage, increasing by 1% for every 5 Ability Power gained thereafter. (Magic damage doesn't affect towers, but it affects other structures.)
Discipline of Might - Upon obtaining 10 Bonus Attack Damage (rounds up from 9.5), Akali gains 10% Spell Vamp, increasing by an additional 1% for every 5 Bonus Attack Damage gained thereafter.
This is what makes Akali such a formidable opponent early game. Discipline of Force allows you to hit harder, which makes it much easier to last hit minions. Discipline of Might gives you spell vamp which makes your lane sustainability godlike, especially with three pots. I will explain in the rune section how to activate these two passives without getting any items.
Mark of the Assassin - Akali throws her kama at a target enemy, dealing magic damage and marking the target for 6 seconds. Akali's melee attacks against a marked target will consume the mark dealing the same magic damage again and restoring energy.
* Cost: 60 energy
* Range: 600
Your bread and butter ability. This is Akali's main source of burst, especially early game. With this move you deal ranged damage and also "mark" your target with a debuff. Upon your next physical attack, this mark is consumed and deals the same amount of damage as the first part of this attack, as well as your physical attack. Also: After consuming the mark, you are also refunded some of the energy used. This is very important to remember when in team fights. The energy refunded will greatly increase your damage output in team fights.
Early game, this move can be very painful if you manage to attack your opponent again after landing the mark. Caution: Although landing the physical attack to activate the second part of this move can be an excellent source of burst and a very good scare/harass tactic, it is also very dangerous. Akali can be pretty squishy against some champs and is easy to shut down if you don't have all her moves just yet. I personally do not engage a target unless I'm going in for a kill or if I've already managed to get them to back off and I have lane dominance.
This move is pretty basic and you will come to love it. It synergizes exceptionally well with Lich Bane. Late game, your burst will be unmatched because of this ability.
Twilight Shroud - Akali throws down a circular cover of smoke that lasts for 8 seconds. While inside the area, Akali gains armor and magic resistance and becomes stealthed. Attacking or using abilities will briefly reveal her for 0.5 seconds. Enemies are slowed while inside the smoke.
* Cooldown: 20 seconds
* Range to center of AoE: 700
* Radius of AoE: 300
This is the move that makes Akali who she is. This gives you temporary stealth whenever you are within the shroud and also slows all enemies who come in contact with the shroud. This move has saved my life more times then I can count and it will surely save yours.
This ability can be used both offensively and defensively. Early game, you're doing to have two uses for this: Last hitting creeps and getting away from possible ganks. Drop your shroud so that it surrounds all enemy minions, run in and start last hitting minions. Be warned: When you attack, you are temporarily revealed. When you reveal yourself, continue running around until you are stealth again. Rinse and repeat.
Please remember: Just because your shroud's primary effect is temporary stealth, that is not it's only use. It's important to remember the slow debuff it gives as well. If you or a team member are being chased, drop your shroud right on top of the enemy champions for easy escape.
Late game, your shroud will be used for concealing yourself during team fights and escaping ganks. Ideally, especially for team fights, you want to try and hold off on using your shroud for as long as possible because it uses precious energy. However, if you notice yourself dropping quickly, drop your shroud and A: Start poking enemies or B: get out of there as fast as you can. After playing Akali a lot, knowing when to use your shroud and what for will become a sixth sense.
Taking advantage of brush. This is what makes Akali's shroud shine. If you are in a critical state and about to die because of a gank, find the nearest brush and drop your shroud so that it covers as much of the brush as possible. Pay very close attention to the movement of the enemy. When you feel you can juke them, do it. I would say about seven times out of ten this juke will be successful and you will have saved yourself from a death. This technique is also incredibly effective with the many crossroads in the jungle. You drop your shroud in the middle of the cross road and juke them when you have the chance.
Crescent Slash - Akali flourishes her kamas, hitting nearby units for physical damage.
* Cost: 60 energy
* Radius of AoE: 325
This is Akali's simplest ability and is very straight forward. It does AoE damage to all nearby enemy minions and champions. You're going to be tempted to use this in team fights, but it's damage isn't enough to justify using the energy. One thing you will notice quite a bit with Akali is how quickly she can spam her abilities, which exhausts her energy quickly. Energy management is very, very important when playing with Akali. The only time I use this when fighting champions is when I'm ganking. The reason for this is because when you gank your goal is to burst them down and get out of there. You will not have to last very long like you do in team fights.
Shadow Dance - Akali moves through the shadows to quickly deal magic damage to the target and appear next to it. Akali gains an Essence of Shadow once every few seconds up to a total of 3, affected by cooldown reduction. The time to gain a charge doesn't count when at maximum charges. Additionally, Akali gains an Essence of Shadow for a kill or an assist.
* Cost: 1 Essence of Shadow
* Range: 800
This is her ultimate ability. This makes it nearly impossible for enemies to run away from you. When you first level this ability, a timer starts running and you gain an Essence of Shadow (this appears as a buff) every 25/20/15 seconds stacking up to three times. Your ultimate requires you to have at least one stack of this buff to use.
This ability is not only really effective when chasing enemies, it is also incredibly useful for Lich Bane and activating the second part of Mark of the Assassin. This ability's cooldown is shorter than Mark of the Assassin, so I usually always make sure not to use it until after I have placed a mark on the enemy. This insures I am always able to activate the extra damage.
This move also has it's defensive uses. If you're being chased and you happen to be running towards a group of enemy creeps or a neutral minion, use your ult to quickly jump to them and create some distance between you and the enemy. This will obviously not be an option for you if you are low on health and will die by the minion attacks: Be careful!
For Akali's masteries I go 21/0/9. There are other viable mastery builds but I take this one to help activate her Discipline of Might and give her some really nice early game damage. I will list the main ones below:
Archmage's Savvy This gives a little boost to AP, but is really just to get to the second tier of masteries.
Sorcery I nice little chunk of CDR is never a bad thing. This will help with early game ability spamming for harassment and last hitting.
Burning Embers 10 AP when your Ignite is on CD. This may seem insignificant but every little bit helps early game.
Archaic Knowledge This is self explanatory. This mastery is helpful through the entire game. It synergizes well with Sorcerer's Shoes.
Sunder This helps doing more damage to creeps early game which makes last hitting much easier.
Brute Force This is necessary to activate you Discipline of Might.
Havoc Increased damage is always nice, especially early game.
Good Hands Hopefully you won't be dying too much, but this mastery is nice when you do.
Perseverence Health regen helps with lane sustainability.
Awareness This helps to get ahead of your enemies a little quicker.
Akali is special when it comes to runes because she requires a rune build specifically for her. Most champions benefit a lot from a general tune build (E.G. AD carries all typically go for Flat ArPen, Mana/5, Magic Resist and Health). The reason Akali requires a rune build specifically for herself is her passive: Twin Disciplines. Out goal with this Rune build is to activate both of those passives to give her a huge early game advantage.